Katrin Neudolt: Best Deaf Badminton Player in Europe

Deaf people have stood out widely in the sports world, including eight Deaf people who have won Olympic medals throughout history (you can see it here). Some sports are widely known and have a large number of followers all over the world, like football, tennis, basketball or athletics. Other sports are less popular, such as badminton, a sport in which Deaf people also achieve great things, such as the Austrian Katrin Neudolt who, in 2019, won the prestigious City of Vienna Sports Grand Award.

Katrin Neudolt
Katrin Neudolt (photo: Sven Heise / nön.at)

Playing Badminton Since the Age of Seven

Katrin was born deaf in 1989 in a small town of just 20,000 inhabitants 14 kilometres from the Austrian capital: Mödling. She tells on her website that she is the daughter of a mother and father who are both competitive athletes, so she was also very active as a child and wanted to try all kinds of sports until she finally fell in love with the badminton at the age of seven or eight.

From the age of 9 or 10, Katrin began to participate in badminton tournaments, always competing with hearing people until about 17 years old when she came into contact with the Deaf community and since then she has been participating in tournaments and competitions for Deaf people too.

Afterwards she studied medical informatics at the Vienna University of Technology and the Centre for Sports Science and University Sports (ZSU) at the University of Sports Science Vienna. She is currently an athlete in the Austrian Armed Forces.

If you want to know her style of play, you can see her competing (pink shirt) in the following video and at the end of the video in a short interview:


She's One of the Best Deaf Badminton Players in the World

Katrin was ranked among the top 200 badminton players in the world, reaching 194th place in the world rankings on 26 September 2013, when she was 24 years old. Now, at 31, she is 1.81 meters tall and continues to compete, ranking 267th at the moment on March 17, 2020 (when the world ranking was interrupted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic).


Katrin Neudolt's position in the world ranking on 17 March 2020 (source: Badminton World Federation)


In addition to this outstanding world position and being the first Deaf athlete to be recognized as a professional by the Austrian Government, Katrin is the best Deaf badminton player in Europe and the second best in the world, only after China's Yan-Ru Shen, according to the Deaflympics world rankings at the time of this article. Perhaps her position could have improved had it not been for knee surgery that only allowed her to train two months before Deaflympics 2017.

Katrin Neudolt is in 2nd place in the Deaflympics world ranking at the time of publication (source: Deaflympics)

Activism

Apart from her prolific sports career, Katrin is an activist for the rights of Deaf people. Although she received hearing aids in her childhood, she love Sign Language and it is part of her life. When she was awarded the Vienna Sports Grand Award in 2019, Katrin took the opportunity to point out that "as in other federal states, there is room for improvement in Sign Language interpretation for sports events and subtitling". Katrin also gives lectures on Sign Language, non-verbal communication in everyday life or sport, for coaches, clubs, etc.


You can follow her on her website and on social networks:
Does Katrin have a motto? Of course she does, she says the following on her website:
Never stop fighting. If you never try, you’ll never know!
 


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