Wirral swimmers come together to support calls for funding of UK deaf athletes

Swimmers from across Wirral came together this weekend to support a sponsored swim in aid of local Deaflympian, Nathan Young.

The sponsored swim took place at Calday Grange Pool, and was hosted by Helen Diamond Swim School, to raise vital funds to support Nathan’s bid for gold at the World Deaf Swimming Championships in August.

Nathan Young

Wirral Metro swimmer, Nathan, will be competing against the best athletes from across the world, in Argentina, from 14 to 19 August.

Deafness on its own, although category S15, is not a discipline in the Paralympics and therefore Young, a holder of seven national records and ranked fourth in the world in some of his events, falls outside its criteria, as do deaf athletes across the UK.

He is eligible to compete in the Deaflympics but, despite that event being sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee and longer established than the Paralympics, Britain, unlike other countries, does not fund its representatives.

Nathan has been campaigning for change by UK Sport and the Government since 2021. He wants them to recognise deaf athletes in their funding allocations.

Nathan began to lose his hearing at the age of two, and now has profound bilateral sensory neural hearing loss.

He said, “Deaf people are very proud of Deaflympics, which has been going since 1924, a lot longer than the Paralympics, and of deaf sport. Unfortunately, deaf athletes are not recognised in our country, and this means that they have to fully fund themselves whilst training.

“To be able to compete in the Deaflympics means the same as it does to those competing in Olympics or Paralympics.”

Helen Diamond asked Nathan to come along to the swim school for Deaf Awareness Week.

Following this visit, the children and coaches were so inspired by his story she wanted to help him, but she could also see how he could help the children she coaches. Through this event, hundreds of pounds have been raised for Nathan to continue his swimming journey to represent Great Britain in Argentina next week.

Many of Nathan’s teammates from Wirral Metro swimming club supported the sponsored swim event.

Helen Diamond said, “It was great to see swimmers at the very start of their swim school journey sharing the pool with elite swimmers, some of whom began their swimming career with Helen Diamond swim school.”

Nathan’s coach at Wirral Metro, Martin Brooks said, “Nathan has funded his own trip and training costs to be able to compete at the World Championships in Argentina.

“Nathan has big goals in the pool, wanting to compete against the world’s best, and outside the pool, trying to promote deaf sport for future generations. He is one of only two GB athletes making the trip, and will be looking for a podium finish.”

To support Nathan’s bid for gold visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/to-gain-some-equalityofopportunity-in-deaf-sport

Image: Lucy Mitchell (front) swam 100 lengths and raised £373 to support Nathan (right)

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