Heroes – Irish blind tennis team prepare for World Games – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

Heroes – Irish blind tennis team prepare for World Games

Image source: RTE

Ireland’s blind tennis team is gearing up to compete in the World Blind Sports Games later this week, reports RTE.

The Games are organized by the International Blind Sports Federation and will be held in Birmingham, UK.

The Irish team had varying levels of vision, from visually impaired to completely blind, meaning players had to listen carefully to the ball.

The approach to the game differs from tennis in several ways. The ball is made of a foam-like material and has a small rattling bell so players can identify it.

Players are ranked according to their level of vision, from B4, which is limited, to B1, which cannot see, reports RTE.

The number of reflections allowed on each side of the grid depends on the degree of visual impairment.

Ria Devereaux, one of the young players who made up the Irish team, says the principle is one of the main differences between sighted and blind tennis.

She says: “I think the biggest difference between blind sports and sighted sports is who you’re playing against. I’m a B4 player, so in competitions, I’ll only ever really play against B4 players. So you’re only ever playing against someone with relatively the same amount of sight that you have, which makes life much easier,” reports RTE.

Ms Devereaux said: “When you win a point or you do something well, the people around you are smiling and clapping and happy that you’re doing well. You hit a good shot and your opponent is smiling and clapping for you, I’ve never experienced that before, but it’s something I’ve really seen in visually impaired tennis,” reports RTE.

“It’s a really good opportunity to discuss with people what works in terms of dealing with your disability and to discuss what works and how to explain it to people. It’s really important to be able to speak with like-minded people who also love tennis. The feel similarly to you on different things because you share that challenge which is pretty integral to your life,” she added, reports RTE.

In 2017, Marguerite Quinn suffered a life-changing brain aneurysm that required 12 months of recovery and left her visually impaired and learned to walk again.

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