Aston University to support International Blind Sports Federation World Games

The School of Optometry is the official classification provider for the Games, which take place in Birmingham from 18-27 August

In the distance, beyond a net, three athletes in sports wear and blindfolds dive to the side. Each athlete is protecting a goal with a white net. A blue ball the size of a football approaches the athlete on the left.
Goalball UK

Aston University’s School of Optometry is providing athlete classification services for the 2023 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games in Birmingham.

The event involves 1150 athletes and 800 athlete supporters from 70 countries. There are 10 sports at the games: archery, chess, cricket, football, goalball, para judo, powerlifting, showdown (similar to table tennis), ten pin bowling, and tennis.

Athletes at the IBSA World Games compete in different categories depending on their level of vision to ensure that the competition is fair.

Staff from the Aston University School of Optometry will support the testing of athletes to determine their vision acuity level and appropriate classification for competition.

Professor James Wolffsohn, who leads the School of Optometry, shared that his team is “delighted” to be supporting the IBSA to bring the games to Birmingham.

“While visual loss is devastating to individuals, it is inspirational to see people who don’t allow this to limit their achievements,” he said.

Optometry Professor Joy Myint from Cardiff University, and ophthalmologist Claire Morton have been helping IBSA to co-ordinate the classification, which involves a team of international classifiers.

Morton shared: “Verifying the classification of each IBSA World Games athlete is an important and challenging process, so we are extremely grateful to have had access to excellent facilities on the doorstep of the tournament.

“We wish all the very best to the athletes competing and hope they can inspire others with sight loss to give sport a go,” she said.