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Transcript: Deaf athletes Michael Lynch and Kerry Titcombe - 29 September

Brendon Pongia (Presenter): This year's Deaflympics has just been staged in Taipei. Karate champ Michael Lynch beat the odds to get to the Games, and he came home with gold. Kerry Titcombe also took out a bronze in the sport. Even sweeter, the couple first met 20 years ago at the Deaf Games! Please welcome to the show, Michael and Kerry and interpreter Rosie Henley. Welcome to Good Morning.

Kerry Titcombe: Thank you.

Brendon: What was the atmosphere like in Taipei?

Kerry: It was a very good experience. People were very lovely and friendly. It was much more spirited out there. Very good.

Brendon: When you went to the Olympics, did you expect to win a medal?

Kerry: Well, I was lucky to win a medal of any colour, and that's what I was aiming for.

Brendon: What about Michael? You won the gold medal. Did you expect to win the gold medal before you left?

Michael (via interpreter): I felt that I would win gold at the World Deaf Olympics. In the hearing martial arts world in New Zealand, in the championships here, I'd had many wins. But it was the first time that I had gone to those games.

Brendon: In 1989, you guys met. You were at the World Games. You won two bronze medals, you were performing as a swimmer.

Michael: Yes, swimming.

Brendon: And you were performing as a runner.

Kerry: Yes.

Brendon: How long have you been swimming for?

Michael: I was swimming when I was a boy.

Brendon: Since a little boy?

Michael: Yeah. Age of 6 to 21 years old. (Via interpreter) So it was a long time that I did professional swimming through, and I was involved in different competitions. I got the 200m and 100m butterfly bronze medals, as you said.

Brendon: Kerry, you did the athletics. When did you two start karate?

Kerry: I started karate in 2000 in May. I went to the club to have a look. I joined there to do Kick-fit, so I would try out for Kick-fit, and my coach told me, "I thought you should try karate". So I joined it at the end. I kept going, therefore.

Brendon: So, did you invite Michael along? Did he come with you at first?

Kerry: Well, I asked him to come over for the prize-giving at our club. He went like this, "Ah, I don't want to." I said, "Come on, come on. You will like that club." And really supportive people everywhere when he was there.

Brendon: So, you met in 1989. When did you first become a couple?

Kerry: No, not really. We only just looked at each other. And we only actually met about 12 years ago.

Brendon: OK.

Kerry: Yeah.

Brendon: How did it happen? Was he romantic?

Kerry: (GIGGLES) Oh, yeah! He sent me some of the flowers. And at the time, we were living apart - he was from Auckland, I was in Wellington. It was really nice. He'd come in the car. We'd share it, each time.

Brendon: So, you moved to Auckland to live with Michael?

Kerry: Yes, in 2000.

Brendon: Were you happy, Michael, that she moved to see you in Auckland?

Michael (via interpreter): Yeah, very happy. It was good.

Brendon: What is it that you love so much about her?

Michael (via interpreter): When I met her in Wellington, it was about '98. We were talking, and she knew me from the Deaf World Games in '89. But I didn't know who she was! There were lots of people and I was focusing on the sport.

Brendon: What are your plans for the future? Another Olympic Games, maybe World Championships?

Michael (via interpreter): I hope in the future, next year, to go to the hearing New Zealand karate competitions that will take us to Tahiti for the Oceania Championships. So that happens in September next year. Hopefully we can get a grant or sponsorship to enable us to be involved in those sports on a par with hearing people.

Brendon: Kerry, what about maybe family in the future?

Kerry: (LAUGHS) Yes, I'd love to!

Brendon: Michael, you're not saying anything.

Michael (via interpreter): We have been asked about that a lot, so I guess it's a matter of when.

Brendon: All that training - you've got to do all that training, so training first, family later?

Kerry: Yes, but it's hard work. (Via interpreter) Hard work, training almost every day. It can be very exhausting.

Brendon: Michael and Kerry, thank you for coming into Good Morning. Congratulations, and good luck with the future.

Kerry: OK. Thank you very much for inviting us today.

Michael (via interpreter): And I'd like to say a thank you to my coach, my teacher, to Duane, who's worked us very hard. He's been absolutely great.

Brendon: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Kerry: Thank you.