Though my association with the Blind School go way back, there are still so many things I haven't been aware of. But like they say everything happens on its own time. I have been receiving invitation from them for their annual sports from years but haven't been able to make it. This year however I decided that not only would I go and cheer for them I will also take my 9 year old to show him how the blind play. It was an eye-opener and a truly overwhelming experience.
The not-so-sunny morning saw me, my mum and son reach the venue (The Blind Relief Association, near Oberoi, New Delhi) to catch the football and kabbadi tournaments. On probing and questioning people present at the venue I got to know a couple of rules. Though the basic rule structure is based on FIFA some have been adapted to suit the players with visual impairment.
- There are 5 players in each team
- The football ground is smaller than the regular ones
- All players wear eye patches and a soft padded head band to prevent injury (eye patches are worn so that low-sighted athletes do not get any advantage over the completely blind counterparts)
- The goalkeepers are slightly-sighted
- The ball has compartments in them with metallic ball bearings inside so it jingles on being kicked and the sportsperson can follow the ball through its sound
- A guide positioned at the rear of the goal post keeps screaming and shouting tips and instructions to the players to assist them with the game
- During a penalty shootout the goal keeper does not cover the post
We watched Delhi Vs. Mumbai and cheered for both the teams, we cheered for their spirit, their will to live and play, and we cheered for our blessings. Sometimes the things that we so take for granted are so precious yet un-thought of. Isn’t it?
We missed the kabbadi match but am hoping to right back to catch it.
Just a recommendation, if you are in Delhi go and catch the tournaments at the Blind Relief Association, near Oberoi. They are on from 4th Jan to 10th Jan 2012. All are welcome and there are no tickets. Help the blind help themselves.
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