Popular film star Kushboo Sundar and Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali, Dewan to the Prince of Arcot, today launched a blind tennis demo match for school children at ‘St Louis Institute for the Deaf and Blind’, Adyar, Chennai.
Twenty blind and visually impaired students played a demo match as part of the launch event from 2 to 3 pm at their school in the presence of Brother John Xavier, Headmaster & Correspondent and other attendees. The event was organised by India Vision Institute (IVI) in partnership with Global Community Sports (GCS), Australia.
“This is the first time ever that the sport of blind tennis has been played in India. Almost identical to standard tennis, blind tennis is played on a smaller court with a modified ball that makes a rattling sound when it hits the court. Another modification is that more than one bounce is allowed before returning a volley.” said Vinod Daniel, CEO, IVI.
“An interesting feature of this sport is that both blind and sighted participants can play against each other”, he added.
He also stated, “IVI is glad to bring these children this new experience, which is something taken for granted by those of us with sight. We hope that this will become a habitual activity for them that is enriching and beneficial in the long term. Thanks to Rick Shrowder for coaching the children and the Australia-India Council (AIC) for making this possible.”
Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali said, “This is a noble initiative by IVI and Global Community Sports to empower blind and visually impaired children. I am happy that they have brought this initiative to India.”
Rick Shrowder said, “A disability does not have to be restricting or isolating. This event is an excellent way to demonstrate this to both the normally sighted and visually impaired. I am thrilled to have coached the kids and look forward to blind tennis becoming a regular activity at this school and elsewhere in the country.” Originally from Adelaide, Australia Rick has been coaching young people in the UK since 2003 and has been involved in national and regional sports coaching, particularly Australian Rules Football.
India Vision Institute (IVI) is an independent, not-for-profit registered trust established in 2012, an initiative of the L V Prasad Eye Institute of Hyderabad and the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney. It is focused on supporting and promoting eye health awareness, research, education and technological development in Indian optometry to advance capacity in vision correction, and prevention of eye disease and blindness. (www.indiavisioninstitute.org)
Global Community Sports specialises in developing innovative ways of using sports and activities to enhance the life chances & life experiences of children, young adults & the wider community in the UK, India & Australia.
Image 1: Popular actor Kushboo and Diwan of Arcot Asif Ali, along with IVI CEO Vinod Daniel, at the Blind tennis event in Chennai