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Deaf alumnus hopes to compete in Deaflympics
Joshua Knopp / Staff Writer
After qualifying as one of the top-three deaf bowlers in the U.S. last August, a UNT alumnus is raising money to attend the 22nd Deaflympics as a bowler.
Joshua Dalton, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science and electrical engineering in 2012, hopes to compete in Sofia, Bulgaria from July 26 to Aug. 4.
Dalton won’t receive any funding for his trip to get to Bulgaria, and has to raise about $4,500 on his own.
CEO of the International Committee for Sports for the Deaf Mark Cooper said the U.S. Olympic Committee doesn’t give the Deaflympics any money.
“Many other countries offer full support to their deaf athletes and are proud of their deaf teams,” he said. “Russian athletes winning a gold medal at this year’s Deaflympics, for example, stand to get $120,000 in bonus payments from their government. U.S. athletes are left to have bake sales just to get to the start line.”
Dalton said he has a little more than $1,300 so far.
Dalton inherited his deafness from his father. He also said he received his passion of bowling from him.
Dalton’s father, Larry, was introduced to bowling by his parents as a way to get him active.
“They put him [Larry] in an after-school program and saw that he was very skilled,” Joshua Dalton said. “And so when I was born and he knew that I was deaf, he started teaching me and training me to one day be in the Olympics.”
Dalton said UNT appealed the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision not to fund his trip because of Texas’ providing free school to deaf people, proximity to his Oklahoma hometown and two particular UNT programs.
The American Sign Language program and the intercollegiate bowling club were both positive influences on Joshua Dalton’s time at UNT.
“That was a really beneficial experience,” Joshua Dalton said of the bowling club. “It helped get me qualified for the Olympics. Without that experience, without Coach Del [Ballard Jr.], I don’t feel like any of this would have happened.”
Pre-journalism junior Lance Ragland, the bowling club’s contact, remembered bowling with Joshua Dalton.
“He bowled the first semester last year with us,” Ragland said. “He was pretty interesting and he was actually able to communicate with us well. There were certain terms that were harder for him to understand than the rest of the team, but once we figured out how to communicate with him it became easier and it helped him become better.”
Students can contribute to Joshua Dalton’s Olympic bid at www.gofundme.com/j9dalton.