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Elizabeth Murray
Dec. 28, 2014

Every year, more than 500 kids aged 9-14 try out for the Brooklyn Nets Kids, a dance team comprised of 15 young dancers that perform at Brooklyn Nets games at the Barclay's Center throughout the season.

Vako Gvelesiani is heading into his second year with the team, making the cut of 15 dancers twice.

"When they told me I made it, it was the biggest moment of my life," Vako told TODAY.

A feat that is even more amazing considering that Vako suffers from severe hearing loss, and can only hear the beats of the music he dances to.

"When I listen to music, I only hear the beat, I can't hear the lyrics," Vako said. "But like to me, I think, you're not supposed to hear the music you're supposed to feel the music."

Vako began losing his hearing when he was only 2 years old. While suffering from a 104-degree fever, his mother, Irma said, he started asking his parents to increase the volume of the television. A trip to the doctor revealed that Vako had hearing loss. The diagnosis, Vako said, was "a shock."

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By Paul Newman, The Indpendent, 1/22/2013

Hearing the sound of the ball coming off your opponent's racket usually tells you a lot about its trajectory and the shot you will have to play next. Lee Duck-hee would not know about such things. The 14-year-old South Korean has been deaf since birth, which makes his progress in the junior game all the more remarkable.

Lee, who is one of the younger players taking part in the boys' tournament here at the Australian Open, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Chile's Christian Garin in the singles yesterday, but is reckoned to have a bright future. He has already won the Under-12 title at the Eddie Herr event in Florida, which is one of the world's leading junior tournaments, and qualified to play in his first

Grand Slam event here. He has his sights on finishing in the world's top 10 in juniors this year and at senior level he wants to be world No 1.

"Actually, I don't care about my disability at any time, and on the court it's easy to focus on my match because I can't hear anything," Lee said yesterday through an interpreter, having lip-read reporters' questions. "I am really happy to be here for the first time. It's a really good opportunity to judge my ability against other players in the world. I am really happy and hope to be here next year again."

Lee, who refuses to make a big issue of his disability and was surprised at the media interest in him, said he prefers not to mention his deafness to opponents or officials, though it can cause problems. There were a number of occasions in yesterday's match when he was not aware that balls had been called out. Officials were not given specific instructions, but on several occasions Thomas Sweeney, the umpire, used hand signals to communicate his decisions.

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