The 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) General Assembly and Conference will get underway in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, on Thursday (4 July), aiming to map out the future of the organisation.
Delegates from around the world are gathering in central Fort Wayne, first for the IBSA Conference and then the 11th General Assembly on 5 July.
On Thursday members will hear about the strategic plan which will take IBSA into the next major phase of its development from 2020-2024. This includes a bold and ambitious aspiration to become the world’s leading organisation for the development of sports for people with visual impairments.
The strategy outlines how this will be supported by staffing, finances, research, partnerships, promotional activities, classification and the Paralympic sports that IBSA is the International Federation for – goalball, judo and blind football, as well as those not on the Paralympic programme.
Members will also receive a presentation from Kai Krabben of the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Krabben will present the preliminary results of a three-year project that aims to create an evidence-based and sport specific classification system for judo.
The research, which began in 2016, has involved athletes, teams and experts from around the world. They have taken part in a variety of in-depth tests and surveys in and out of competition to determine what a future classification system for the sport should look like.
The final goal is to have a classification system that meets the International Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Classification Code – a requirement of inclusion at the Paralympic Games – and something which all International Federations are working towards.
IBSA President, Jannie Hammershoi, said: “The Executive Board is looking forward to gathering the membership for the General Assembly in Fort Wayne, to discuss some very important topics which will impact our collective futures.
“We are excited to present the strategy for the period which will follow Tokyo 2020, a Paralympics which we expect to once again take Para sport to new heights. It is important that we have a plan to capitalise on that as well as carve out our own future.
“Similarly, and part of the same aim, is classification code compliance for all the IBSA sports on the Paralympic programme. Some very thorough research has taken place, particularly for judo, and it is important to hear the initial scientific findings.
“We look forward to two days of debate and discussion in which our members are fully involved.”
Thursday’s agenda will also include a question and answer session on the application process for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.
In late 2018, goalball, judo and blind football were included on the Paris 2024 programme.
The IBSA Executive Board now wants to give members an insight into the exercise and investigate how it can work closer with them to strengthen future applications.
Finally a session on beep baseball – an adapted form of the sport for people with visual impairments – and presentations from Tokyo 2020 on how preparations for the next Paralympics are progressing, will round off the day.
The IBSA General Assembly will take place on Friday.
The agenda features the presentation of accounts and budgets; discussions of motions received from the membership or put forward by the Executive Board and votes on new and existing membership statuses.
The 2019 IBSA General Assembly and Conference is taking place alongside the IBSA Goalball and Judo International Qualifier from 2-9 July. Around 600 athletes from 40 countries are competing with the gold and silver medallists from goalball securing a place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Judoka are also able to gain qualification points.
Results and the full schedule is available at www.ibsafortwayne2019.com/
. A livestream will be shown on IBSA Goalball and IBSA Judo’s Facebook as well as on IBSA’s YouTube channel.