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University of Birmingham hosts 2023 IBSA World Games

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The University of Birmingham is welcoming blind and partially sighted athletes from around the world 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 – including Brazil, China, India, United States and Canada – are attending the World Games, which take place from 18 to 27 August, and it is the first time the World Games have been held in the UK.

The University is hosting five of the Games’ 11 sports – Judo, Blind Football, Showdown, Archery, and Chess – across it’s leafy Edgbaston campus, whilst Cricket, Powerlifting, Goalball, Tennis, Partially-sighted Football, and Ten Pin Bowling will take place at venues across the West Midlands.

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 21-25 August, featuring sporting activity taster sessions for blind and partially sighted people of all ages and abilities.

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor & Principal Professor Adam Tickell commented: “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.

“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.”

The World Games occur every four years and are organised by the International Blind Sports Federation. The first games took place in Madrid, Spain 1998, and have since taken place in Quebec (2003), Sao Paulo (2007), Antalya (2011), Seoul (2015), and Fort Wayne in USA (2019).

The group stages of this year’s Blind Football competitions began before the official Opening Ceremony at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall (18 Aug).

Speaking after opening games winning against Austria, but subsequently losing to Argentina, goalkeeper Kanchan Patel, from the India Women’s Blind Football team, commented: “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.”

Sallie Barker is the Chair at British Blind Sport – the host federation for this year’s IBSA World Games – whose lead sponsor is RNIB.

Sallie said: “The University of Birmingham played a key role in Birmingham’s successful hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, so we are honoured to be able to use their top-class sporting facilities for the 2023 IBSA World Games.

“The World Games is about showcasing the talents of those with sight loss, whilst planting the seed in blind and partially sighted people’s minds that sport is accessible to everybody – and we are grateful to the support provided by the University of Birmingham and other regional venues in helping us to achieve this.”

Several events this summer are qualifying competitions for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, for Goalball, Blind Football and Judu.

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