ARTICLE - Mudgee Guardian

 

BASKETBALL

Mudgee has a new international sports representative.

Woolmer was selected to represent the Goannas after attending a selection camp last year. He was confirmed as a final member following several further camps.

The Mudgee Lakers and Dubbo Rams player said he was looking forward to competing for his country.

“It is pretty exciting,” Woolmer said. “I have had plenty of support from my family and friends, and Nortons [employer]. They’ve have been a big help in giving me time off to go to the camps.”

Woolmer is deaf in both ears and wears cochlear implants.

But he didn’t always have a hearing impairment.

He was born with Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (LVAS), a form of hearing loss caused by enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct in the inner ear.

“I’ve gradually lost my hearing,” Woolmer said.

“I first noticed it when I was seven. I was at vacation care where my aunty was a carer. 

“I slipped over and hit my head on a bench. When I was home, my aunty phoned to see how I was and I answered the phone and put it to my left ear. I couldn’t hear anything but my mum could hear my aunty screaming down the phone.”

Woolmer got a cochlear implant for his left ear when he was eight and another implant for his right ear when he was 16.

Although his disability doesn’t restrict him from playing basketball as he takes them out when goes on the court. 

He admits he uses a lot of hand signals during games, which is how the Goannas will communicate during the Deaflympics.

“We have some hand signals for set plays. Also when the referee blows his whistle the backboard lights up.

“We are all pretty keen to play.”

Twelve countries have qualified for the basketball competition at the Deaflympics including United States, Japan, Argentina, Slovenia, Lithuania and Turkey.

Australia have been grouped alongside Venezuela, Kenya, Russia, Ukraine and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan).

The team will be coached by Adam Taylor and managed by Gary McDonald.

But before Woolmer can join his teammates in Bulgaria, he has to raise funds to get over there.

“We don’t get any support so you have to raise funds yourself,” Woolmer said.

“For flights, accommodation and to participate in it, I’m looking at about $6000.

Woolmer is already selling chocolates, and he plans to hold a barbecue and a raffle to raise more funds.

 




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