The first-ever IBSA Blind Football camp and tournament for women kicked off this morning in Vienna, Austria.
The event has brought together 75 people from 16 countries and 3 continents, with women making up around 80% of those taking part.
Participants from thirteen European countries - Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey - have been joined by the Japanese national women’s blind football team, players from Canada and coaches from Mexico.
The camp and tournament are held as part of the UEFA-funded IBSA Blind Football European Development Project, and in partnership with the Austrian Disability Sports Federation.
Training sessions began early this morning and continue this afternoon and tomorrow morning. The Japanese team will play matches against select teams in addition to training.
Saturday will see the inaugural IBSA Women’s Blind Football Development Tournament, with teams selected from among the participants, along national lines where possible.
Caption: the Japanese team warms up.
In addition to training sessions and coach education, a referee training course is also on the agenda, and the new refs will have the opportunity to officiate the matches on Saturday.
Speaking about the success of the event, IBSA President Jannie Hammershoi said: ”I am really delighted to see that there are 75 participants from 16 countries in this very first IBSA Blind Football women's and girl's training camp and tournament in Vienna.”
“As everyone knows, the major push for the last ten years in IBSA and other international sports federations is to involve more female participants in sport. Here we have a unique event where 60 of the participants are female, a wonderful accomplishment!”
“IBSA thanks everyone for their contribution to this new initiative to make the event possible and hopes that this will be one of many such events in the future, demonstrating IBSA's commitment to women’s and girl’s involvement and empowerment in blind sports.”
Click here for more information about the event on Facebook
, and join the IBSA Women’s Blind Football network
IBSA would like to acknowledge event sponsorship from Handi Life Sport
and Goalfix Sports
Caption: Goalfix goggles and Handi Life Sport balls.