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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Sponsorship joy for Cumbrian Deaflympics hopeful

Talented athlete Bethan Lishman has received an early Christmas present – the promise of sponsorship so she can compete in a prestigious competition.

Beth Lishman photo
Councillor Alan Smith with Bethan Lishman

The gold medal hammer throwing contender at next year’s Olympic games for deaf people, felt her dream slipping through her fingers as she struggled to raise a staggering £3,200 to enable her to compete.

After months of campaigning, writing letters and pleading with local businesses to help, she still only managed to raise £1,130.

Now, Allerdale Council has stepped in and agreed to sponsor the 28-year-old and will be funding the shortfall of cash.

Councillor Alan Smith, who has championed the support for Bethan, said: “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games showcased the best of British.

“But I was shocked to learn that there are some athletes with disabilities that are excluded from participating in the Paralympics, specifically those with hearing impairment.

“In the light of the success of both the Olympics and Paralympics held in London, and the financial gains made from these events, it seems unfair to ask deaf athletes to have to fund their version of the Olympics.

“I am delighted that we are able to support Bethan and help her achieve her dream.”

Bethan, who works for Carlisle Leisure Limited at Workington Leisure Centre, will now be able to book her place at the 2013 Deaflympics which will be held in Bulgaria.

“I keep dreaming of winning a medal and coming home and sharing it with everyone who had the belief in me,” said Bethan, who lives at Brigham, near Cockermouth.

“Hammer throwing is my life.”

Martin Horne, Carlisle Leisure Limited’s (CLL) area manager for Allerdale, said: “CLL are extremely proud of Bethan Lishman and are delighted to hear of this support from Allerdale Council.

“We are totally committed to supporting Bethan in any way we can now and in the future.”

Deaf people do not have a specific classification at the Paralympic games and can only compete if they have an additional disability which meets the Paralympic criteria. Deaf athletes can compete in the Olympics, but face communication problems with event officials, which is why the deaf athletes hold their own games.

The Deaf Athletics Association holds a separate Deaflympics for athletes with hearing impairment, which is being held in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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