Sofia Deaflympics Update 2
On Friday 26th July we celebrated the opening of the 22nd Summer Deaflympics with an Opening Ceremony at Arena Armeec. Each country was allowed only 3 athletes, or 10% of the total of athletes to march at the Opening Ceremony. Arena Armeec was too small to allow every athlete to march, but this was perfect for the New Zealand team as we only had 3 athletes!
Daniel Carruthers had a cycling race in the morning and didn’t want the proceedings of the opening ceremony to impact on his performance. He did not come to the Opening Ceremony, so Daniel Harborne replaced him in the march. He joined Talor Gilmer and Santana Chapman for the opening ceremony with their parents watching proudly from the stand.
As all the teams marched into the arena, 3 athletes from each country were ushered into the centre of the arena while the rest of the 10% were ushered back into the stands. The 3 athletes from each country were able to meet athletes from other countries. We had the Sweden team on one side and the Norway team on the otherside. This was an excellent opportunity for both Talor and Santana to polish up on their International Sign Language. It was fantastic experience for them both.
The Deaflympic flame came all the way from Paris, France where the first International Deaf Sports compeition was held in 1924. The flame started it’s journey to Sofia, Bulgaria two weeks ago and was carried by a team of cyclists to raise awareness of cycle safety as well as the Deaflympics. The flame finally arrived at the Arena and Santana was nominated from the New Zealand team to pass the Deaflympic flame from athlete to athlete to the end, where the Deaflympic flame was lit. This was a very exciting moment to be a part of. It was a proud moment to represent New Zealand. After the flame was lit there were a variety of Bulgarian cultural dances and performances.
The next morning Daniel Carruthers was competing in the Men’s 1000m Sprint with about 30 other competitors. The race was competed on a section of the matorway that was closed off. The motorway traffic was diverted around the race. It was strange to be able to stand in the middle of a motorway.
It was a highly competitive field with cyclists from all over the world. All of the qualifying times were very close, and Daniel missed out on qualification for the finals by about a seond. He put in a good effort, and is still thinking positve for the rest of the campaign. He still has 3 more races. Team NZL will be supporting him all the way.