Dave: How much can change in a week and a bit!! When I first started writing this post – England had just beaten Panama 6 -1 in the World Cup, Lewis Hamilton returned to the top of the F1 driver standings following a win at the French Grand Prix, Andy Murray’s return to tennis since Wimbledon last year saw him have a straight sets win over Stan Wawrinka in Eastbourne and England completed a 5 – 0 win over the Aussie’s in the One Day Internationals (Cricket) – sorry, I’m not being sexist, just noted all my examples seem to be male!
So with all this sporting activity (and what a nail biting England match in the World Cup last night!!), doesn’t it encourage you to get off of the sofa and take up a sport? You don’t have to be an expert or be any good, it’s the taking part that counts… and this includes people who have a vision impairment.
Back in my sighted days I used to play short mat bowls. I was actually pretty good at this and was ranked in the top 10 in Kent for a while. I played for Kent for several seasons as well as becoming only the 2nd player from Kent to be called to play for England.
I have been asked recently if I was interested in taking up running and have also been invited to go to the gym with friends, however, I’m not interested in running and find gyms a bit boring.
Since my sight has deteriorated, participating in sport has become less attractive. Also, getting involved in a competitive sport as a blind person would mean that I would have to travel to somewhere like London to participate – making the activity both expensive and time consuming. Maybe when the children are a bit older and I have more free time on my hands (when I’ve retired), I’ll think again about finding a local sport that I can play.
However, there are some excellent organisations that are doing a great job in ensuring that sport is available for people with a vision impairment. There are 2 main charities leading the way in the UK:
· British Blind Sports (https://britishblindsport.org.uk/) are a national charity providing sporting opportunities for vision impaired people across the UK.
· Metro Blind Sports (https://www.metroblindsport.org/sports/) are another charity who provides sporting activities in and around London as well as promoting other UK activities via their newsletter and social media pages.
There are also other smaller charities that are dedicated to a particular sporting activity such as ‘English Blind Golf Association’ (http://www.blindgolf.co.uk/) and ‘Sailability’ (https://www.sailability.org/?p=19).
Vicky: Whilst Dave isn’t interested in running, I just wanted to mention the Park Runs that now happen every Saturday morning across the country (https://www.parkrun.org.uk/). These are free events to attend, and people can run or walk the 5k courses (or run and walk which is what I do!). They are operated by volunteers and there is always a volunteer who will keep the last person company be they walking or running so that no-one finishes on their own which I think is a lovely touch. They also welcome people with vision impairments and encourage people to volunteer their services as a Guide Runner – this can be anyone of any running or walking ability and they will match people accordingly. Its easy to register and, as I said, completely free to take part!
So, sighted or not, there is a sport out there for you… you just need to go and find it!
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.