Australian Ninja Warrior is the surprise hit of 2017, with the thrilling obstacle-course show still racking up massive viewing numbers. However, tonight’s show may have lost them a few fans, after deaf cricketer Paul Cashion was disqualified on a technicality with absolutely heartbreaking results. 
Before his run, he’d told viewers that he wanted to be an inspiration to other people like him:
“I want all deaf people and all people with impairments to see me tonight and think that they can be on the show too.”
Unfortunately, the show runners didn’t seem to take into account Cashion’s particular impairment. 
On the first obstacle, his trainer slipped into the water – an automatic disqualification. However, Cashion didn’t – couldn’t – hear the buzzer that sounded to let him know he’d missed his shot. 
What followed was a horrified crowd sitting in total, pin-drop silence, as Cashion proceeded to the next part of the course, not knowing that he was out of the competition. 
It was only when his step-son caught his attention, signing a translation of what the refs were saying, that the cricketer realised that he’d been disqualified. He looked absolutely crestfallen, and the entire crowd looked close to tears.
It wasn’t just the crowd who were devvoed, either. Viewers on Twitter were quick to voice their displeasure with a ruling they considered to be extremely unfair. 

As many have rightly pointed out, not making an adjustment to the signals to accommodate Cashion’s hearing impairment is a classic example of unwitting ableism. Hopefully this’ll change the way Ninja Warrior does things from here on out; it’s just such a damn shame that all our hearts had to be broken first.

Image: Australian Ninja Warrior.