Melanie Jewett and John Ruddy among athletes in action at the Deaflympics from July 26 – August 4
First held in Paris in 1924, the Deaflympics is the second-oldest multi-sport event in history – second only to the Olympic Games.
As the primary international event for deaf and hard of hearing elite athletes around the world, a six-strong GB athletics team will be in action in Sofia, Bulgaria, from July 26 – August 4 at an event which for many will mark the pinnacle of their sporting achievements.
With the competition now just days away here we take a look at some of the British athletes who will be vying for medals and let you know how you can follow the action.
Marathon and 10,000m
Coach: Noel O’Dowd
Club: Eastleigh RC
PBs: 3:23:54 / 44:46
Jewett (pictured) has run every London Marathon since 2003, having completed 55 marathons in total so far as well as a few ultra marathons, the longest being 50 miles. This will be her Deaflympic debut and she competes fresh from finishing third at the Königsschlösser Romantic Marathon where she set a personal best with her 3:23:54 clocking.
100m and 200m
Coach: Sheila Atkinson
PBs: 10.9 / 22.23
Ruddy is the current GB deaf record holder at 100m (10.9) and 200m (22.23) and won European 200m bronze in 2011. He goes into the Deaflympics looking to do the sprint double.
Coach: Robert Halliwell
Club: Wigan Harriers
Lishman captains the ladies team at Wigan Harriers and has thrown the hammer since she was nine. She claimed the first gold medal at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. Placed fourth at the first World Deaf Games in Izmir, Turkey.
Coach: Michael Doran
Club: Wigan Harriers
Doran is the British record holder in the javelin. Sister to British UK javelin champion Lee Doran, she counts silver at the European Championships in 2007, also in Sofia, among her achievements.
Who are the GB team up against?
The 2009 Deaflympics were held in Taipei and saw Russia top the medal tally with an impressive 98 medals (29 gold) across the board.
Estonia’s Kairit Olenko is set to offer strong competition in both the women’s 100m hurdles and javelin, while Alena Tsiarentsyeve of Belaurus is likely to challenge for medals in the women’s 200m and 400m.
Also in the sprints is Maris Grenins of Latvia as he contests the men’s 100m. Yuliya Shapoval of the Ukraine is one to watch in the women’s 400m hurdles as are Russia’s Nelli Erofeeva and Melinda Vernon of Australia in the women’s 800m and 10,000m respectively.
How can I follow the action?
Daily footage will also be uploaded to YouTube.
Full GB athletics team for Sofia:
Melanie Jewett – Marathon and 10,000m
John Ruddy – 100m and 200m
Bethan Lishman – Hammer
Colette Doran – Javelin
Rebecca Zelic – 100m hurdles
Lauren Peffers – 400m and 800m
Rebecca Foster – Coach