Chennai: It was a moment of ecstasy for 13-year-old A. Mukesh, who never dreamt of playing outdoor games. Visually challenged by birth, Mukesh, a class eight student of the St Louis Institute for the Deaf and Blind, who spends his spare time by randomly hitting the caroms, was spellbound to play a real game of tennis on Saturday.
Organised by India Vision Institute by collaborating with Global Community Sports (GCS), Australia, demo match of blind tennis, a first-of-its kind in India, was enjoyed by 20 students who are either visually impaired or challenged.
Tennis balls that produce a rattling sound, enable the students to hit it hearing the sound. Almost akin to standard tennis, blind tennis is played on a smaller court. Mukesh said, “I am happy that they invented the special ball for us. I practised for three days and now became a fan of the sound, the ball creates while rolling.”
Aravind, a 15-year-old visually impaired, studying class 7 shares a similar feeling as he told DC “I don’t feel left out now. I am confident that my disability would not deter me from trying anything.”
Labelling the teaching experience as fantastic, Rick Shrowder, the trainer said, “Initially, we spent time with the ball to familiarize with the sound of it. They took no time to get spontaneous with the body movements. I have noticed a gradual improvement in their confidence levels since the first session.”
CEO of India Vision Institute, Vinod Daniel said “This is the first time ever that the sport of blind tennis was played in India. Apart from such initiatives, we are also working towards providing access (in the form of glasses) to the visually challenged,” he said.