The University of Birmingham is welcoming blind and partially-sighted athletes from around the world, including India, to its UK campus as it hosts the 2023 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games. Around 1,150 athletes from more than 70 countries are attending the championship, which kicks off from August 18 and runs until August 27.
The Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) is here with the Indian Women’s Blind Football Team (pictured) after it qualified for the games.
“The IBFF has been developing and promoting the sport across India over the past 10 years, and is the official affiliate of the Indian Blind Sports Association and Paralympic Committee of India,” said Sunil J. Mathew, IBFF Sporting Director, as he called on the diaspora to come out in support of the team.
Goalkeeper Kanchan Patel added: “Taking part in the games is a really proud moment for us – our team has only been playing together for around two years and our players are gaining wonderful experience in Birmingham as we continue our football journey together.
“I’m very excited, but also a little nervous, as we look forward to our next match against Germany, which will be a tough game.”
India’s fixture against Germany takes place at Birmingham University on August 18.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Tickell said: “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook enjoying deep and wide-ranging research and education links to many countries around the world – notably Brazil, China, India, United States and Canada.
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“Sport is truly a unifying force, and I’m delighted to welcome blind and partially sighted athletes from around the world to Birmingham. I wish every competitor a successful and enjoyable Games, and I’m sure that the many spectators joining us will find the Games an exciting sporting experience.”
It is the first time the World Games have been held in the UK, with the University of Birmingham hosting five of the Games’ 11 sports – Judo, Blind Football, Showdown, Archery, and Chess – across its leafy Edgbaston campus.
Cricket, Powerlifting, Goalball, Tennis, partially sighted Football, and Ten Pin Bowling will take place at venues across the West Midlands. The visiting Indian National Blind Cricket Team was felicitated at the Indian Independence Day festivities at India House in London on August 15.
The University of Birmingham IBSA’s first World Games village will allow competitors to stay, socialise and dine during the tournament. The Athletes' Village will be based at the University’s student accommodation, just as it was at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Spectators will have opportunity to browse the stands of organisations and companies involved in research or providing services to blind and visually impaired people.
British Blind Sport, the host federation for the 2023 IBSA World Games, is also hosting a “have-a-go” Activation Zone at University of Birmingham’s Chancellor’s Court between August 21-25, featuring sporting activity taster sessions for blind and partially sighted people of all ages and abilities.
The World Games take place every four years and are organised by the International Blind Sports Federation. The first games took place in Madrid, Spain 1998, and several events this summer are qualifying competitions for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, for Goalball, Blind Football and Judo.
*Info: IBSA World Games
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