Alpine skiing is a winter sport
which requires excellent endurance and communication skills
between the visually impaired skier and the guide. The skier
controls his/her descent by traversing the face of the hill.
The guide facilitates this activity by calling out turns to
be made etc. This process is the same as for any skier except
that a sighted guide assists in navigation.
Events competition among the blind/visually
impaired occurs at regional, national and international levels
in the following events:
Slalom - A race in which each competitor,
with navigational assistance from a guide, skies as fast as
possible down a zig zag course around tightly placed markers.
Giant slalom - A race that is similar
to slalom but on a longer course and the markers are spread
further apart. Thus turns are less frequent but at higher speeds.
Super giant slalom - Similar to
the giant slalom but on a much longer course with fewer turns
which results in very fast racing.
Downhill - The fastest of all the
ski races. The skier and guide negotiate a course with even
fewer turns that the Super G at exhilarating speeds.
Special Equipment - Skies, boots,
poles goggles and helmets must be worn at all times in competition.
Track consists of running short,
middle and long distance events which are excellent for quickness,
strength and improving the cardiovascular system. The use of
guides depends entirely on the athlete's visual classification
and the particular event. Guides facilitate the activity by
running alongside the visually impaired athlete, both runners
holding on to a tether. Alternatively, stationary guides positioned
around the track call to the runner giving directional signals.
100 meter (Male & Female),
4x100m Relay (M&F), 200 meter (M&F), 400 meter (M&F),
800 meter (M&F), 1500 meter (M&F), 3000 meter (F) ,
5000 meter (M), 10k road race (M&F), Marathons (M&F),
Proper running shoes are strongly
recommended. Track spikes are allowed. Tethers for use with
guide runners shall be a flexible, non-elastic material not
to exceed 50 cm in length.
The pitcher and the catcher of
each team are sighted players. These pitch at, and catch from,
their own team, the opposite of what happens in ordinary baseball,
where these players pitch and catch against the opposing team.
All the players, except those just mentioned, wear blindfolds.
Why? To avoid those with residual vision having an advantage
over the totally blind players.
When a player takes his place to
bat, the pitcher and catcher of his team also come on. The pitcher
will be at a distance of twenty feet (6 meters) from the home
plate and will do all he can to ensure the batter hits the ball.
For a shot to be considered good, it must pass a line situated
forty feet (12 meters) from the home plate. If it does not pass
this line, it will be considered void. Neither the pitcher nor
the catcher may touch the ball once it has been batted. Should
this occur, the batter will be declared out. The batter will
strike out after four strikes and not three as is the case in
ordinary baseball. The pitcher will use two signals, warnings
or commands to help the batter to hit the ball: first, he will
shout "ready", which means that both himself and the
batter are ready to play and, second, "ball", at which
the batter will attempt to hit the approaching ball. Should
the batter hit the ball the required distance, he then runs
towards the base activated for him by the umpire - first or
third. The base emits a continuous beeping sound to distinguish
it from the ball and thus avoid confusion for the players between
one and the other. The base is made of a soft material (foam),
covered with plastic and is three feet (approx. 1 meter) high.
There are only two bases on the pitch, compared with the three
in ordinary baseball. They are situated at a distance of 90
feet (27 meters) from the batting area, one along the right-hand
line and one on the left, similar to the first and third bases
in ordinary baseball. They will be placed ten feet (3 meters)
outside the foul line. The base is reached whenever the player
touches it with any part of his body before the defender gains
possession of the ball. So, if the batter hits the ball towards
the first base, the umpire will activate the base corresponding
to the third base area and the batter will run towards this
base, and vice versa. This method is adopted in order to avoid
accidents. If the runner reaches the base before the defending
player gets the ball, a run will be awarded. If, on the contrary,
the defending player regains possession of the ball before the
runner reaches the base, the latter will be declared out. If
any defending player catches a ball in the air, the innings
will be declared over. That is, that play may be considered
as one, two or three "outs", depending on the number
remaining to finish the innings.
There is a line marking a distance
of 180 feet (54 meters) from the home plate. If a batter hits
a ball and it goes beyond this line, he will be awarded two
The match will last for six innings,
each consisting of two halves with three "outs" per
team. The visiting team will bat first. The local team will
not bat in the sixth innings if it is already winning when the
visiting team finishes its batting turn in this innings.
There is a special ruling known
as the "twelve-run rule" which states that, if, at
the end of a complete innings, either team is leading by twelve
runs or more, the opposing team will continue batting after
its three "outs" are completed. Every three "outs"
will count as an innings and the next one will then commence,
and so on until they catch up with the winning team's score.
Should this not occur until the sixth innings is finished, the
game will be declared over. If, on the contrary, they draw level
or surpass the winning team's score, the game will continue
as normal. Nevertheless, the team that previously had a twelve-run
lead, will not lose those turns which it did not take previously
so as to permit the losing team to bat. If the umpire observes
that play endangers some players at a given moment, he may stop
the match. Said play will be declared void and the game will
resume as if it had not taken place.
Goalball is a team sport played
exclusively by the visually impaired. The object of the game
is to roll a ball which contains bells past the opposing team.
There are two teams of 3 players which alternate rolling and
defending. The offensive team rolls the ball in a manner that
is either hard or soft, depending upon player style, in an attempt
to get the ball past the opposing three players. The defensive
team listens for the approach of the ball and attempts to prevent
or block the ball from crossing the line. The ball is rolled
back and forth with the offensive and defensive team alternating
until time expires for the half. The game is played in two five
or seven minute periods and the team with the most points wins.
There are women's and men's teams with no variations in equipment
Events - The USABA offers local,
regional, national and international competition.
Special equipment - Clothing, gym
shirt, shorts or sweats, a goalball, blindfolds, set of goals
(not mandatory), tape for special markings on the floor.
To purchase goalball equipment
can be purchased through USABA.
Judo is a competitive sport contested
by two players from the same classifications. Judo matches can
last as long as two or five minutes or as quickly as the time
it takes to score a pin. The match is started with the contestants
gripping or holding the shirt of the opponent. When the contestants
are in proper starting position the referee will call "Hajime"
(begin). Judo is similar to the sport of wrestling, the differences
lie in the rules, the clothing and how points are scored.
Points may be scored by throwing
your opponent to the mat, pinning your opponent to the mat,
or through holds like arm bars which makes the opponent plea
When the referee determines that
a contestant has executed a proper action to score a point he
will call "Ippon". Ippon signifies that one point
has been scored and the match has ended.
Events - Events are conducted in
local, regional, national and international tournaments. Athletes
participate in specific weight classifications.
Special equipment - Mats (foam
rubber), clothing in the form of a robe (judogi).
Nordic or cross country skiing
is a winter recreational/competitive sport that is pursued over
generally flat areas or a combination of flat and hilly terrain.
Nordic skis are long and narrow and are fastened to a cross
country ski boot at the toe. The skier is also equipped with
poles to help with balance and forward motion. Cross country
skiing is much like jogging, alternating left and right while
gliding over the terrain. Wax is applied on the bottom of each
ski to grip on the snow as the alternating motion takes place.
Cross country skiing generally takes place on surfaces in which
tracks have been made by previous skiers. This facilitates cross
country skiing for the blind/visually impaired and decreases
the dependency upon a guide. The guide, however, is needed to
assist avoiding obstacles and in navigating turns, and does
so by calling directions to the skier.
Events - Nordic skiing can be recreational
outing or a competitive event. The competitive events at the
local, regional, national, and international level are:
Men 15k, 30k; Women 5k, 10k and
4x10 relay races
Special equipment - In addition
to cross country ski equipment, it is important that each skier
dress in layers of clothing. Skiers rapidly generate enough
heat to stay warm and will want to remove a layer at a time
to avoid overheating.
Powerlifting is a sport that has
no age, sex or weight restriction on participants. There are
three basic lifts that are conducted, both in recreational and
competitive lifting. These three are described below:
Squat - Consists of squatting down
and then rising again to a standing position while holding a
bar with weights behind the head resting on the back of the
Bench press - Lifter lies on his/her
back on a horizontal bench, lowers a weighted bar to his/her
chest and pushes it back up to arm's length by extending the
Dead lift - A lift in which the
weight is lifted from the floor to hip level with straight arms
by the power of the back and legs, and then lowered to the ground
The object is to lift as much weight
as possible in each of the three basic lifts. Generally, people
start with lighter weights and improve their strength through
practice, repetition and improved technique.
Events - Events are conducted at
local, regional, national, and international levels. Classifications
are made according to sex, age, and weight of each participant.
The age categories are 14-19, 20-39, 40-49 and 50 years and
Special equipment - Weights or
access to a weight room is necessary, and cooperation from one
or more 'spotters' who assist in safety aspects. A lifting belt
is strongly recommended to protect the lifters back.
Swimming is a sport with no age
restrictions and may be pursued for fitness, recreation, or
competition. Swimming is an outstanding sport for increasing
overall fitness and body strength.
Special equipment - To aid the
athlete in judging turns, a coach may tap the competitor when
he/she nears the end of the pool. For this we have created a
special device called a 'tapper'. A verbal count is given to
inform the swimmer of the number of remaining laps in competition.
A common practice of many of the USABA swimmers has been to
count the strokes it takes to go from one end of the pool to
the opposite end. This technique assists the swimmer in knowing
when the end of the pool is being approached.
Events - USABA offers competition
at the regional, national, and international level:
Butterfly 100 & 200 meters
(50 & 100 for Masters)
Backstroke 100 & 200 meters
(50 only for Masters)
Breaststroke 50, 100, 200 meters
(50 only for Masters)
Freestyle 50, 100, 200, 400, 800
(women), 1500 (men) (50 &100 for Masters)
Individual medley or all 4 strokes
in one race 200 & 400m (200 only for Masters)
Tandem cycling is a sport for individuals
interested competitive bicycle racing. The sport has two disciplines.
Track racing and road racing. Track racing takes place on steeply
banked track called a velodrome and road racing is as it sounds,
on the road.
Track bikes have no brakes and
only one gear, which is sized according to the riding style
of the cyclist and the event. Road bikes vary widely between
events and are specialized in nature, often incorporating aerodynamic
design elements and sporting as many as 27 gears.
Both types of racing, however,
share a common ground - the winner is not always the fastest
rider. Strategy and knowing an opponent's strengths and weaknesses,
can be important as speed.
Tandem cycling consists of two
riders, the rider on the front, the pilot or captain, is sighted.
The rear rider, the stoker, is visually impaired or totally
blind. Events range from a few minutes for the kilometer on
the track to a few hours on the road. Track events include the
kilo (kilometer timed trial), sprints and pursuit races. Road
events consist of road, time trials and criterium races.
Cycling is a sport that improves
an individuals strength, endurance, balance, and conditioning,
as well as developing character, commitment and dedication,
which is used well beyond the sport and into an athletes life.
Requirements - Helmet (ANSI or
Snell approved), high quality cycling shorts and jerseys and
shoes with a cleat/pedal system must be worn. Ownership of,
or ability to borrow a tandem is also very important.
Wrestling is for every size and
shape person, both men and women. It is the most natural sport
for the visually impaired because the two competitors must maintain
contact with each other throughout the competition.
The sport is performed similarly
to "sited" wrestling. The rules for international
wrestling competitions have some modifications to render conditions
more suitable for the visually impaired.
From the beginning of the competition
contact is established between the two contestants in the standing
position by the gentle overlapping of each hand over the hand
of the opponent. Although each contestant may subsequently move
and change this starting position, as long as there is some
type of contact between the two contestants wrestling continues.
Once contact is broken the referee will blow the whistle to
Visually impaired wrestling was
included in the 1984 Paralympic Games. Unfortunately the sport
has not been since then due to a lack of interest. It is our
goal to reinstate its inclusion in the 2004 Paralympic Games.
In order to accomplish this, specific requirements must be met.
There must be 18 countries, representing 3 continents participating
in National Championships, Continental Championships, and World
Championships. With the amount of interest received, our goal
looks very attainable.
National Championships have been
held in 15 countries for blind wrestling. There have also been
three regional championships in which an average of three countries
U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, have participated. World Championships
have been organized in the Netherlands and the U.S. The interest
in the sport of blind wrestling has greatly increased. Many
countries, Algeria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Ghana, Indonesia,
Iran, Italy, Kenya, Mexico City, Nigeria, Republic of South
Africa, Russia, Sri Lanka, U.S.A and Zambia, have shown interest
in developing programs for visually impaired wrestlers.