Sports clinic boosts skills for deaf kids

MORE than 30 children participated in a multi-sport clinic as part of Deaf Sports Australia’s Active Deaf Kids program in Bendigo on Thursday.

Former Deaflympic games athlete Irena Farinacci helped facilitate the clinic along with representatives from the Bendigo Braves.

Participants had a taster of basketball, AFL and tennis with the clinic designed to encourage deaf and hard of hearing school children to be active. 

"Research indicates a lot of deaf kids are obese or have depression and they don't get involved in sport much," Ms Farinacci said.

"What we're trying to do with the active deaf kids program is to break down those barriers and get them to play sports and help them to build confidence.

"Being a former Deaflympian myself I understand what it takes to get involved in sports.

"It's great, you meet people, you feel confident in yourself and you feel healthy."

Ms Farinacci, a retired basketball player, represented Australian at the Deaflympic Games in 1997 and 2005 and World Deaf Basketball Championships in 2007.

"They were really wonderful experiences and now that I'm retired I want to give something back," she said.

"I've seen myself the benefits it provides and I'm very dedicated to helping deaf kids because I believe they benefit a lot out of it by meeting like-minded people.

"It brings them all together and lets them know they're not alone.

"Hopefully they can continue the friendships they form and they can play sport together."

Some participants at the multi-sport clinic used sign language while people on the sidelines waved instead of applauding.

The Bendigo clinic was held in conjunction with Deaf Children Australia’s May Day, a series of events that bring together deaf and hard of hearing children who may not have met any other deaf children before.

The sports clinics began in March in Geelong and will tour Victoria for the next four months. 

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