The 2012 Australian Deaf Games were held in Geelong in January. The games attracted an international audience and competitors. The games are held every four years. They are a significant event for the Australian and international hearing impaired communities.
Up to 18 sports are played by the athletes. They include swimming, beach volleyball, netball, touch football and lawn bowls.
Athletes from New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji competed in the games. In their first year of the games, the Samoan team took the gold medals in the mixed fours beach volleyball.
The diversity in the crowds was clearly visible and there was a great vibe in the air. It felt a bit like a family environment.
Netball competitor Emma said she enjoyed taking part in the games.
I love the deaf games because it's my first time being involved in them. We have been winning and we have two more games left, she said.
Brittany, another netball competitor, said there was a wonderful atmosphere.
I used to play basketball, but I love playing netball because it's fun and very active, she said.
There are heaps of good people to play with and everyone understands each other so we don't have any barriers to participate in the team. It's a really fun environment.
President of Deaf Sports Australia Brent Stephenson was delighted with the success of the games.
Over 1000 participants and visitors attended and many said it was their best games given the compact size of the city, proximity of the venues and the sport and social program on offer, he said.
Many sports were played at a very high standard and the presence of the Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand athletes only added to the spectacle.
In 1964 the first Deaf Games were held. They are managed by Deaf Sports Australia.