Real sporting stories

Hear from our wonderful sporting stars who already take part in sport and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of staying active.

From recreational to Paralympic level, meet some of our blind and partially sighted sports stars.

Sundip's story

Selfie of Sundip out in the countryside

Sundip, aged 37 from London, who has an eye condition closely related to Stargardt Disease, got into running in 2012. Since starting jogging, he's completed a number of marathons and even some ultramarathons.

Inspired to start running  

“I used to be quite unhealthy and didn’t do any exercise. Then in 2012, I started jogging to get a bit healthier and signed up for a marathon with my wife. I’ve run races almost every year since. 

“I try to run at least 1,000km a year, but some years I’ve done 2,000. I go after 50-mile races and double marathons. I just like the idea of doing a huge distance. I've run six ultramarathons and in 2016 I ran four. I also love trail running, through woods and over steep hills." 

Read Sundip's full story

Kathryn's story

Kathryn in a rowing boat

Kathryn, aged 54, has Retinitis Pigmentosa. Looking for an activity to boost her spirits, she took up rowing four years ago, and is the only blind rower at her club. 

Finding rowing 

“I discovered rowing a few years ago, when I was looking for something to help my mental and physical health. I went through a really bad patch at the beginning of 2017 – my partner nearly died, and I was having anxiety. 

"It's so nice to be out in the fresh air. With rowing, there's a particular way of hearing what's going on around you, and concentrating on moving the boat."

Read Kathryn's full story

Matthew's story

Matthew playing rugby

Matthew, aged 45, has Left hemianopia (LHH), caused by a life-changing stroke that left him without sight in both eyes in 2017. Having always been active, he had to readjust and learn to cope without vision.  

Matthew has kept motivated through sport. He’s actively involved in rugby and cricket and in 2019, was selected to represent England, as part of the visually impaired Rugby team at the World Cup in Japan.  

Finding sport after sight loss 

“I was really active before losing my sight, having always gone running and played football. Having to readjust and learn to cope with everything so suddenly was a challenge. At first, I felt like I had lost everything – my job, driving licence, hobbies.

"Then I spoke to another visually impaired person who told me about the Worcester rugby team, so I went along and got involved, and that’s where I heard about cricket. The game is really fun, but the social aspect of it is amazing too – we’ve even won the local league."

Read Matthew's full story  

Georgie's story

Georgie playing goalball

Georgie, aged 27, has Macular Degeneration. She's been playing goalball since she was a teenager and is now a visually impaired Goalball Paralympian, competing for Britain internationally.  

Goalball designed for blind and partially sighted people

“Goalball was designed for blind and partially sighted veterans after World War Two. The game is played on a volleyball sized court, with a goal the full width of the court at each end. The ball is the size of a basketball, but heavier with bells inside. With three people each side all blindfolded, the aim of the game is to throw the ball at your opposition to try and score in their goal. You dive across the floor to try and block the ball coming into your goal, using your body. It’s all about split second reactions, concentration and is both a power and endurance sport. 

"I’ve always enjoyed sport, but being at a mainstream school, it was hard for me to participate, because there weren’t any games for partially sighted people. But since then, I’ve gone on to become a Paralympian, representing the UK for 12 years in the sport."

Read Georgie's full story