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Alex Kirchner received a DCA Youth Grant to attend the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, representing Australia in swimming. He received brilliant results, placing fourth in the 50 and 100m backstroke and 6th in the 200m backstroke – an incredible result against many older competitors! He says:

At only 12 years old I was provided with the opportunity to represent Australia at the 2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships in Texas, USA and this opened my eyes up to all the opportunities with Deaf Sport.

This year, at 14 years of age I was provided another opportunity to travel to Samsun, Turkey and represent Australia at the 23rd Summer Deaflympics 2017.

Without this funding from Deaf Children Australia, this amazing experience would not have been possible due to no other government funding or support being given to deaf athletes in Australia.

The Deaflympics was a huge success for myself and other members of the Australian team, with most swimmers achieved their goals and personal best times.

Throughout the week of competition, I experienced a roller coaster of emotions such as excitement and nervousness due to the other men I was competing against being up to ten years older than me. However, I was very proud of my achievements walking away from this competition placing 4th in the men’s 50 and 100 metre backstroke and 6th in the 200 metre backstroke.

It was an amazing experience walking out on stage in front of 25,000 supporters at the opening ceremony with my team mates, a moment I will never forget. The Turkish crowd were so loud and packed into the stadium. Mum and my brother were in the stands and they said all the walkways and stair wells were filled with people. Due to there being so many supporters and limited seating, many police escorts were needed and the amount of security was huge however it ensured that all athletes were safe.

I am so grateful for all the support from Deaf Children Australia, thank you.”