Over 100 visually impaired (VI) people gathered in Coventry on Saturday (22nd October) for Warwickshire based charity British Blind Sport’s annual Festival of VI Sport. At what has been described by one participant as a “magnificent, uplifting and brilliant day”, VI people aged between 3 and 83 tried out a number of sports including swimming, equestrianism, golf, cricket, football, tennis, rock climbing, judo and goalball.
Guests of honour at the event taking place at Bablake School included 6 time Paralympic medallist and world record holder Hannah Russell; silver medallist at the Rio Paralympics para-triathlon, Alison Patrick; England blind footballer, Roy Turnham and Lord Mayor of Coventry, Lyndsley Harvard. Hannah Russell said, “events like this are essential to the continued growth of VI and disability sport in general. I hope mine and Alison’s appearance here today and the people that have felt and seen our medals from Rio has perhaps inspired someone to take up sport more regularly.”
Chief Executive of British Blind Sport, Alaina MacGregor said, “last year, at the inaugural Festival, we had about 60 participants, so to see the number of people attending over 100 is incredible and really shows that VI people want to take part in more physical activity and sport. Whilst it’s important that we encourage an active and healthy lifestyle, the event also enabled so many people to try out new sports, meet other people and realise that they are not on their own. I am very proud of what we achieved as an organisation at this event and the feedback so far has been nothing but positive.”
A parent speaking on behalf of participant Ellie Clark said, “Thank you so much for the opportunities and patient, friendly staff. It’s not unusual for the more severely sight impaired children to be less well catered for at some VI events, but today was amazing and inclusive. Ellie loved every second and was so sad to come home. Having not been interested in even trying judo or climbing beforehand, with patient and understanding staff and gentle encouragement, she took part, enjoyed herself, and now wants to join a judo club, go climbing again, reconfirmed her love for tennis and wants to play football!”
To find out more about British Blind Sport or visually impaired sport in general, please e-mail email@example.com or call 01926 42 42 47.
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1168093). A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company number 10009918. Registered office: Pure Offices, Plato Close, Tachbrook Park, Leamington Spa, CV34 6WE.