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Disability-specific vs inclusive sporting opportunities

The majority of our research participants felt they had a more positive sporting experience when they played with other visually impaired people, instead of sighted people. This was because everyone at the session would have an understanding of the challenges they have faced when participating in sport. Also, for many participants, it was the encouragement from visually impaired friends that was the catalyst for them to have the confidence to take part.

However, some of our participants were attracted to inclusive sport offerings with sighted people. For some, it was about being able to show others that they were able to achieve a similar level of athletic performance to their sighted peers.

“It makes me feel more confident when people compliment my skills [when playing against sighted people].”

For others, it was just a way to continue playing sports with their entire friendship group. To continue competing against sighted people, some participants felt they needed to hide their condition, often competing against sighted players who were unaware of their impairment.