Altona’s Shane Crick, who recently won a gold medal as part of the Australian men’s deaf basketball team, is lobbying for more support to enable deaf athletes to compete internationally.
The Goannas’ win at the Asia Pacific Deaf Championships in Taiwan was the team’s first gold medal.
Crick, 21, started playing basketball when he was seven. He joined the Australian squad in 2008 and plays both hearing and deaf basketball.
“The only differences are that because we’re not allowed to wear hearing aids or cochlear implants in any deaf basketball competition, the backboard lights up every time the whistle is blown and refs wave their hands to get our attention,” he said.
“We use hand signals for all our plays and at time-outs and quarter-time breaks we have an interpreter to sign the coach’s instructions as our coach can hear and does not sign.”
The Goannas next major tournament is the 2017 Deaflympics.
Crick said deaf athletes needed financial support to play in international competition.
“We get no government support or sponsorship so we have to fund the full amount of international trips ourselves,” he said.
“The Goannas players paid about $10,000 each from our own pockets for the two international competitions we played this year – the World Championship in July and Asia Pacific Deaf Games in October.
“We also all share costs associated with the training camps held about every six weeks.
“We all pay for the court hire and the cost of flying interstate players to Melbourne.
“This is on top of the flight, accommodation and uniform costs associated with representing our country at international tournaments.”