More About Angus

Deafness no handicap to Angus

Angus Squash

World Deaf Squash Championships player Angus McDonald is a great role model for people with disabilities.

The 49-year-old Ngunguru man, Angus, is busy training five days a week for the championships which this year are in Hampshire in October.

Fitness coach Matt Harrison from Activ8 Northland says he is demonstrating what anyone can do if they put their mind to it.

Matt admits that a lot of the cues in squash come from hearing where the ball goes, so Angus is at a disadvantage when playing able-hearing players. However, Angus is one of the stronger male players at the Whangarei Squash Club.

Angus is also well known for his sense of humour, including making up the scores when he can’t hear them, Matt says.

Despite being ranked No 13 in the world deaf champs, Angus says squash for him is about having fun, keeping fit and encouraging others in the deaf community.

Angus started playing squash at age 17 after he broke his neck in a rugby tackle gone wrong.

After six months’ recovery, Angus, started looking around for a non-contact sport which would still give Angus a good level of fitness.

Angus was born profoundly deaf but now has cochlear implants which allow him to hear. However, Angus, does not wear his external piece while playing squash as it falls off and is in danger of getting wet.

“Most players can hear the ball crossing the court and know where the ball is going to go. For me I have to watch the ball the whole time,” Angus says.

The World Deaf Squash Championships were first held eight years ago and while Angus missed that one he has been to the next three.

Angus was involved in running the New Zealand championships in 2010 and says it netted 20 new deaf squash players.

He is also involved with a squash event on Friday nights where non-members, including people with disabilities, can come along to the Whangarei Squash Club. “You don’t have to be skilled to play squash – you just have to have a go,” he says.

As well as training five days a week, Angus is fundraising, with him and team-mate Aucklander Wayne Cloete needing to raise $10,000 for the trip to England.

When not playing squash, Angus works as a telecommunications adviser and lives in Ngunguru with his partner Jane and two daughters, aged 10 and 6.

– Whangarei Leader


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