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GB At The Deaflympics

September 18, 2009

Great Britain have come back with 10 medals, including one gold, from the Summer Deaflympics in Taipei.

The event, originally known as the World Games for the Deaf, was first held in Paris in 1924 and now includes 4,000 athletes from 81 countries.

Anthony Sinclair and Catherine Graham won the team’s sole gold in the tennis mixed doubles final.

There was also a silver and three bronzes for US-based teenage swimmer Hannah Fitton.

On the athletics track, Lauren Peffers won two silvers in the 400 and 800m while Serena Blackburn and Joanne Davidson claimed bronzes in the marathon and hammer respectively.

Rajeev Bagga, who was chasing his sixth consecutive individual badminton gold, had to be content with silver in the men’s singles.

Russia topped the medal table with 98 medals, including 29 golds, with Great Britain’s performance seeing them finish 26th in the overall standings.

Sinclair and Graham put in a superb display to beat Italian pair Gianpaolo Damiani and Barbara Oddone, who had held the title since 1989, 6-4 4-6 6-3.

It was Britain’s first gold medal in the mixed doubles event for more than 50 years.

“We are delighted to win gold, standing on the podium receiving our medals was our proudest moment,” said Graham.

“We have both worked so hard preparing for the Deaflympics and to come back with gold made it all worth it.”

Sinclair, who was runner-up in the men’s singles four years ago, added: “Winning silver four years ago in Melbourne was incredible, but to go one better in Taipei and get gold against the five-time champions is so special.”

UK Deaf Sport chair Craig Crowley, who is to take over shortly as president of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, congratulated the efforts of the British team.

“We are extremely proud of our athletes. To win 10 medals is a fantastic achievement when you consider that Team GB received no funding from the UK Government,” he said.

“Our athletes had to prepare and train for these Games with the uncertainty of whether they would actually be able to take part hanging over them.

“The standard of deaf sport is increasing and several nations are giving strong financial support to their deaf athletes.

“Britain is in danger of falling behind because our athletes are not supported by our Government or home country sports councils.”

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