Josh Chapman is busy fundraising before heading off South Korea next month.
Josh Chapman is busy fundraising before heading off South Korea next month. Bruce Thomas

Young Josh takes on the world

JOSH Chapman, the youngest player to represent Australia in deaf football, is used to sharing the field with and competing against men twice his age.

The 16-year-old was selected on the Australian Deaf Football Team and heads to South Korea for the World Cup Qualifiers in May. If the team is successful they will compete in the second Deaf Football World Cup in Turkey next year.

Josh is well-known for his swimming feats and now he’s taking centre stage with his exceptional football skills.

“I started playing football when I was six years old and usually play right wing or striker. My favourite part is being able to run free with the ball,” Josh said.

“I really enjoy team sports and experiencing the game with other players.

“South Korea will be my first overseas trip and it hasn’t hit me yet although I can’t help counting down the days.”

Josh said the game itself is the same but hand signals are used to communicate the play instead of whistles. Players must have an average hearing loss of 55 decibels or more in their best ear (this means they can not hear sounds such as normal speech or a vacuum cleaner). They are required to remove hearing aids and cochlear implants and rely solely on sign language.

His mother Zita said individuals with sensory impairment compensate in ways most people don’t recognise.

“When he was little he would notice people entering a room before anyone else and he has increased peripheral vision and a heightened sense of smell.”

All this adventuring does not come cheaply and Zita has been busy organising fundraisers. Josh needs $2100 to cover the cost of his trip for the qualifiers in South Korea.

The first of her fundraising efforts is a slice drive and you can offer your support by enjoying some rocky road, caramel slice, raspberry crumble or apricot slice (among many others). All orders come with a decor container and purchases can be made by contacting Zita on 0401 247 809 (she is happy to organise delivery).

Barbecues will be held at Amart Allsports on April 2 from 10am-3pm and at Bunnings Warehouse on May 1 from 9am-4pm. Get involved in a trivia night at the Pier Hotel in Coffs Harbour on April 16 at 7pm. The cost is $10 per head for tables of eight and bookings are essential. Call 0419 682 580 to book. There will be great prizes, raffles and an auction of sporting memorabilia.

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