A note from the Toronto Athletic Club:
We were proud to welcome the world to the Toronto Athletic Club at the beginning of October, as we hosted the World Deaf Squash Championships. Hosted every 2 years, this year’s event was the 9th World Championship, and it marked the first time the Championships were hosted in Canada.
The tournament is meant to be both competitive and fun, bringing together squash players from around the world, all with various skill levels. The Championships offer an opportunity for everyone in the deaf community to participate – there is no qualification – with the major goal for the event to simply be that everyone enjoys their experience.
Many in the hearing community might assume that playing squash may be more challenging for deaf athletes but the reality is it’s really not all that different. Tarryl Tamlin, this year’s organizer and one of the Canadian competitors in the tournament, explained that while hearing players can maybe hear their competitors’ footsteps and the ball’s movement, he doesn’t believe there’s any real benefit. On the other hand, when we spoke to Alex Johansson, he admitted that he finds there to be a significant difference – and for it to be far more challenging – when he has to remove his hearing devices to play. Thus, to ensure the Championships are played on a level playing field, all players must remove their hearing devices prior to taking to the court.
This year’s World Championships featured 11 athletes from 4 countries – 7 from England, 2 from Canada, 1 from the United States, and 1 from Sweden – which comes with a variety of challenges. Like any other international competition, bringing together athletes from around the world means that there are language barriers that need to be overcome. While the athletes cannot always communicate with each other via sign language, they make it work – they text, write back and forth, and utilize interpreters during the day.
While there may have been struggles off the court, when it came to the squash, everyone quickly got down to business. It was an incredible tournament, featuring solid back-and-forth play all week long. This year’s final featured Sweden’s Alex Johansson and England’s Matthew Hewitt. Congratulations to Matthew who came out on top.
When the players weren’t on the court at the TAC, they spent their time exploring Toronto. They checked out a number of tourist attractions, and took the time to see all that the early fall has to offer in this city we call home.
Thank you to everyone who joined us during the World Championships. We’re proud to be part of this incredible tournament’s history!