Ticket details have been announced for the world’s largest sporting event for blind and partially sighted athletes, which is making its UK debut this summer.
The 2023 International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) World Games – sponsored by RNIB – are being held across Birmingham and other regional venues between August 18-27.
Around 1,250 blind and partially sighted athletes from 70 countries are competing in 10 sports – three of which include men’s blind football, men’s and women’s goalball, and judo which are qualification tournaments for the 2024 Paralympic Games.
Other sports and categories featured include men’s partially sighted football, women’s blind football, archery, chess, cricket, powerlifting, ten pin bowling, tennis, and showdown.
The three Paralympic qualifying sports – which are men’s blind football, men’s and women’s goalball, and judo – are ticketed events along with women’s blind football and men’s partially-sighted football, with all other sports open to the public to attend for free without needing to book.
Tickets grant all-day access to one sport, providing spectators with the chance to watch multiple matches across men’s and women’s goalball, men’s and women’s blind football, men’s partially sighted football or judo each day.
Prices for ticketed events range between £5 for concessions, to £25 for adults. Official support workers or guides will be able to accompany a paid ticket holder for free.
Sallie Barker, Chair at British Blind Sport, who are the host federation, said: “The IBSA World Games has a crucial role to play in demonstrating to the general public the elite standards that blind and partially sighted people compete at.
“This is underlined non-more-so than the inclusion of three Paralympic qualification events at this year’s World Games.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to buy their tickets for these events, as the money will go towards helping to stage what is an historic event for the UK and sport for blind and partially sighted people across the world – and will hopefully leave a legacy by levelling the playing field for blind and partially sighted people across all areas of society.”
Due to the size of the men’s and women’s tournaments, men’s and women’s blind football at the University of Birmingham’s Bournbrook pitches will start on August 14 before the World Games Opening Ceremony, and will finish on August 25. Each day provides a minimum of four men’s and women’s matches – which will feature England men and women.
Judo takes place between August 23 and 25 and is based at the University of Birmingham’s Sport & Fitness Indoor Arena, a five-minute walk from the Bournbrook pitches. British Paralympian judo gold medallist Chris Skelley MBE is set to feature alongside other up-and-coming home-grown talent.
Coventry’s Coventry Building Society Arena will host both men’s and women’s Goalball between August 20 and 27, enabling spectators to access two competition courts each day, with up to six matches running all day across both courts. Great Britain will be represented in both men’s and women’s goalball competitions as they fight for Paralympic Qualification in Paris 2024.
Detailed schedules and team draws for each sport will be released closer to the start of the tournament and announced on www.ibsagames2023.co.uk and World Games social media channels.
Birmingham is hosting the seventh edition of the World Games following a successful joint bid between British Blind Sport, Birmingham City Council, Sport Birmingham, UK Sport, and the University of Birmingham.
The unique multi-sport event is coordinated by event management company MLS Contracts Ltd, with British Blind Sport – the national disability sport organisation representing blind and partially sighted people in sport across Great Britain – as the Games’ host federation.