Saturday, 24 October 2009

Belfast Deaf Badminton Club

The Belfast Deaf Badminton Club was formed in 1969 at Wilton House in College Square North, a cultural, social and spiritual centre for the deaf community for over 100 years.  Now the club meets in the sports hall at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and it organised a special tournament to mark the 40th anniversary.

Down through the years the club has produced Ulster, Irish and British champions and its players have represented Ulster and Ireland at European and World championships. 

I visited the tournament on Saturday afternoon and it was good to have an opportunity to congratulate the club on its anniversary.  It was also an opportunity to learn more about the issues faced by deaf people in accessing sporting and cultural activities.  The club has an important social function and I told the players, through the sign language interpreter, that I had first met my wife at a badminton club back in the early 70s.

At the end of the visit I learned that the sign language version of applause is to hold your hands in the air, about level with your forehead, and twist them a couple of times.

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