Former Broughton Anglican College student Samuel Cartledge helped the Australian Deaf Goannas cement themselves as the leading deaf basketball team in region following their gold medal victory in the 2015 Asia Pacific Deaf Games in Taiwan, Chinese Taipai this month.
Cartledge, 21, said his team’s 59-36 victory over host nation Chinese Taipei and having the gold medal around his neck was the highlight from the past two years of his career.
‘‘It meant so much to myself and the team as I have given up so much to focus on this goal such as deferring university study and moving further away from home,’’ the point guard said.
‘‘Our recent win also made history as no Australian deaf sports team had won a medal in any team event before.
‘‘Five years ago, I would not of thought that what I have done and achieved was feasible and I cant believe I have progressed this far.’’
Cartledge, a former Narellan resident, began his journey in basketball in year five and gradually worked up the courage to try out for the Macarthur Heat.
He said playing sports was one of the main ways he as a deaf person could connect with other people. His hard work paid off as he is no a semi-professional basketballer for the Sherbrooke Suns youth league team in Victoria’s Big V basketball competition.
Cartledge became involved in deaf basketball when he trained with the national squad for the 2012 Asia Pacific Deaf Games and said there wasn’t much difference from the traditional form of the sport.
‘‘The only differences between deaf basketball and mainstream basketball are the way in which players and officials communicate and alert athletes on court,’’ he said.
‘‘When there is a stoppage in play, the backboard lights activate to alert players that there has been call from a referee [and] referees raise their arms up at the same time that they blow the whistle to alert players of the their calls.’’
The athlete also praised the impact his family, friends and colleagues had on his journey that and now has set his sights on winning gold at the Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey in 2017.