Success in Deaf Schools Athletics Competition
July 2023 update
Yate Adaptive and Para Athletics group together with the Deaf Studies Trust set up a regional Deaf Schools Athletics competition on 11th July at YOSC.
This attracted 65 participants from Bristol Schools and mainstream schools in Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire.
There were also individual entries by parents of deaf children in different educational settings.
Participants ranged from 6 years old up to 15 years.
The events offered were all the recognisable ones from regular England Athletics and Quad Kids and were managed by our committed Yate and Bristol officials.
The significance of the event is that deaf sport is not part of UK Para Athletics (or England Athletics) and there is very little opportunity for deaf children to take part in mainstream sports due to their different communications skills.
That applies not only at mainstream club level but also within the mainstream schools as well.
In order to support the process, we offered weekly sessions at the track for the Bristol deaf schools. On Tuesdays, leading up to the event we coached around 30 deaf kids each week.
The individual results in running, jumping and throwing events were provided back to the schools but there is no place to report them generally nor Power of Ten entry point.
Where it was possible to match performance against the England Athletics PB awards (the nine level scale) we found:
- 1 star: 12 performances
- 2 star: 28 performances
- 3 star: 38 performances
- Bronze: 12 performances
- Silver: 8 performances
- Gold: 9 performances
- Elite: 2 performances
This is more an indication of potential – rather than absolute performance on the day but is illustrative of the physical possibilities for deaf young people – who are by and large physically able.
We adjusted all running events by using flags and no starting gun. Instructions were relayed directly in British Sign Language or using interpreters.
Positive feedback all round .. usually indicating “see you next year” as the desire to repeat this initiative to offer access to athletics.
Report submitted by Jim Kyle (Para and Adaptive Athletics Coordinator)