Post date: 
Monday, 24 October 2016

By Dave Gavrilovic of British Blind Sport

One of the most common barriers to getting involved in sport is not being aware of what sports a blind or partially sighted person can play or how they can access them.

I’ve been involved in sport all of my life. I was partially sighted until the age of eleven and a half, and since then I’ve been totally blind. When I started in sport there were only a few sports available for me to compete in, but now there are a huge amount of opportunities for men or women of any age to get involved with a whole variety of sports.

A quick bit of background about me

I am Chairman of Blind Cricket England & Wales (BCEW) & Vice Chairman of British Blind Sport (BBS). I have won 4 international caps at Blind Cricket and previously represented Great Britain in 17 youth international matches at Goalball. I’ve also won a number of National youth titles at Athletics, Football, Goalball & Swimming as well as training with the Great Britain national teams at Blind Football and Goalball, although I never got close to being selected to actually play for either team. More recently I have played cricket in a number of national competitions ran by BCEW & BBS & three weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a major award from the England & Wales Cricket Board.

What sports can you do if you're blind or partially sighted?

So on to what sports are around now. Sports played by blind and partially sighted people in the UK include: Archery, Athletics, Chess, Cricket, Cycling, Football, Goalball, Golf, Gymnastics, Horse Riding, Judo, Lawn Bowls, Rock Climbing, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Skiing, Snowboarding, Swimming, Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling & Triathlon. So there really is something for everyone. 
You will have seen or heard some of these sports at the Rio Paralympics or the Winter Paralympics in 2014 or even at London 2012, but every one of these are just as easy to access for beginners as they are for potential Paralympic champions.
On Saturday 22nd October British Blind Sport held their second annual Festival of Visually Impaired Sport in Coventry, hopefully some of you reading this attended the event. If not don’t worry, BBS will be holding a number of multi-sport have a go days all around the country in the next few months & there is bound to be one at least reasonably local to you.
I am going to be writing a regular blog for RNIB Connect on visually impaired sport and how you can access it, so I will be giving details of the afore mentioned have a go days & will tell you about what other events are going on around the country. I will also focus on one sport in each article & tell you a bit more about how that sport is adapted to allow visually impaired people to participate.
Best of Connect