Team Photo at Airport

Blind Tennis Players Compete in Tournament in Spain

5 blind and vision impaired athletes returned home in May from Alicante, Spain having competed in the 1st international blind tennis tournament.

Thanks to the generosity of many individual and organisations such as Tennis Australia, Tennis Victoria, UFS Pharmacies, Primary Club and Vision Australia, the Australian tennis players made history as the first Australian team to compete oversees.

Team arriving at accommodation holding a banner

Arriving at accommodation

Playing against athletes from 14 countries, the team took on well-established nations such as Japan, where the game originated.

Classification of all participants was held prior to commencement of the tournament by an international classifier, Gaetan Li, to ensure everyone was playing in the right categories. The sight classifications are B1, B2 and B3. B1 players have no vision or no functional vision. B2 and B3 players have a small amount of useful sight within a reduced field of vision.
Raised tactile lines were used as navigational markers to assist the athletes to recognise their position on the court. The balls used are audible and emit a sound when played. Players use their heightened sense of hearing and develop their spatial awareness to track and hit the audible tennis balls.
The excitement for all players participating at this event was evident by the laughter, comraderie and enthusiasm to be part of the 1st International Blind Tennis Tournament.

Group photo with Samir in Spain

Group photo with Samir

Participants and volunteers were thrilled to have the opportunity to attend this wonderful event. “What an amazing trip – what a tournament, what an experience! A big thank you to our coaching team and the volunteer guides who came to the tournament to assist us” said blind tennis player Genamarie.

Although Australia didn’t win the overall B1, B2 or B3 category, the experience and skills learnt by players was invaluable.

Congratulations to Adam for making it through to the Men’s B3 semi-final against Poland.

The champions of each category were:
B1 Male – Hirofumi Ono (Japan)
B1 Female – Aya Uchida (Japan)
B2 Male – Ximo Garcia (Spain)
B2 Female – Chizuko Hara (Japan)
B3 Male – Chris Baily (Great Britain)
B3 Female – Charlotte Schwagmeir (Germany)
A number of consolation games were held, with Sandra Knight winning the B3 Women’s consolation game against Poland and Michael Fogarty winning the B3 Men’s consolation game again Poland.

On the last day of the tournament, guess who won the “Best Fairplay Award”? You guessed it…… Australia. To be awarded this trophy as the ‘Australian Team’ was an honour for everyone on the team.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your support and for making the dream become a reality!

BSV Morning Tea

Ready Steady Yarra

Are you vision impaired? Enjoy walking tours and cafes?

Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, with the support of the City of Yarra, would like to invite you to our new Ready Steady Yarra program, exploring six different Yarra City sites throughout 2016 with an emphasis on walking, learning and café dining.

When and Where:

April 27 – Fairfield Boathouse & Cafe

May 24 – Collingwood Children’s Farm & Farm Cafe

July – Victoria Park Tour

September 15 – Melbourne General Cemetery Tour

Cost: $12.50 (concession) tour + cost for lunch/coffee

If you are interested in attending please contact Miriam Bilander, Project Coordinator on 9822 8876 or

Places are limited!

Click on the following to read/download the brochure: Ready Steady Yarra


Miriam Bilander, Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria Project Coordinator, was interviewed by Red Symons on the Breakfast Show on ABC Radio, Tuesday, 22nd March, discussing the Ready Steady Yarra program.

The podcast link can be found by clicking here. Miriam’s segment starts at 47:33.

Blind football league

Blind Football (Soccer) B-League an Australian First

Blind Sports Victoria will run a league for blind football with the support of Football Federation Victoria in October this year.

You can watch a video at this link: Blind Football League

The Victorian B-League will be the first of its kind in Australia and offer two competitions for blind and vision impaired footballers.

The B1 league will play with international rules, as per the Paralympics.

The second will be the B2/B3 league will for players with varying degrees of vision loss.

Sighted people are able to participate in both divisions, with equipment provided such as eye masks, head guards and playing shirts.

Gail Thornton and volunteer - Bayside - Nov 2014

Look Both Ways – Sharing Your Time Project in Boroondara

Would you, or somebody you know, welcome the opportunity to become a more active member of the Boroondara community through offering your time as a volunteer to support people with vision loss by:

  • accompanying someone on a weekly walk;
  • assisting as a guide and providing volunteer support on group outings in the Boroondara area;
  • providing individual support to enable people to undertake a one-off event of their choice, for example, attend a family get together, try a new recreational activity, become familiar with what shops and restaurants are located in their local shopping environment, go to a concert or movie.

For further information please phone Janene on (03) 9822 8876 or email

Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria – creating comfortable, accessible environments for people with vision loss through assistance from our great volunteers.