The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Deaflympian student sums up Taiwan experience

By Edna Horton/nw news editor

When Aaron Gomez got up to play a tennis match in Taipei, Taiwan, only one thing was on his mind, the cameras.

Gomez, a NW Campus student, competed in mixed doubles and singles matches for the U.S. Deaflympics tennis team in Taiwan Sept. 6-9.

The Deaflympics, which began in 1924 and take place every four years, include such sports as wrestling, basketball, swimming and tennis.

Gomez first heard of the Deaflympics from his high school teacher, who told him he should participate in the tennis portion of the competition. He tried out for the tennis team and finished as one of the top five players.

His first match was a singles match against Jan Viterwijk Winkel of the Netherlands. He said Winkel was an old pro, and all the news media cameras made Gomez unable to concentrate on the match.

“I was so nervous. I was so scared,” he said. “I was not ready for that kind of pressure. They had people bringing in extra bleachers, extra video cameras. I really think that match was a fluke. I shoulda won that match. I just got so scared.”

In his doubles match, Gomez and his partner, Jennifer Woyahn from Waukesha, Wis., fared a little better, winning the first round against Ismail Yilmaz and Asuman Saki of Turkey.

Gomez prepared for the Deaflympics by playing tennis for two hours a day with his tennis coach. He would go running every day, and each month he played in a tennis tournament. He said his training was not any different from his regular training.

Gomez said during a match he can barely hear the ball, and when scores are called, he cannot hear.

“I have to make sure every single play,” he said. “I have to ask ‘em, ‘what was the score? Was it out? Was it in?’”

Gomez said his style of tennis is a little different from regular tennis players, but he does not recommend others use it. He said he puts spin and power together when he hits the ball.

“Learn from a tennis coach,” he said. “When my tennis coach taught me how to play tennis, he was disappointed at how I hit the ball even though they worked. But he wanted me to hit it like a normal professional player.”

Gomez said he enjoyed the trip to Taiwan but not the 14-hour flight. He said Taiwan was a lot like New York with terrible drivers and terrible people. He also said the weather was not very hot, but it was humid.

“Luckily, I’m from Texas,” he said. “With 105 degrees during the summer, I was used to it. The players from the other states were not feeling well about it.”

In addition to his tennis matches, Gomez also saw some sights in Taiwan. One of them was the Taipei 101 building, the tallest occupied building in the world.

“We got to go up to the 90th floor. That is the farthest you can go,” he said.

Gomez would like to compete in the Deaflympics again, but he is not sure where he will be in the next four years.

“I might be married in four years. I might have kids. I might have a job. I might not be placed in it,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

The next tournament Gomez will be in takes place in Las Vegas in July. He said this time he will be ready for the cameras. 

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