Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind

The annual sports competition at thePattayaSchoolfor the Blind came to an end on Thursday with the final games of the sports events.

As in previous years the students were split into two teams, blue and green, and the competition saw the students competing in athletics, swimming, table tennis, soccer, checkers, goalball and volleyball.

The day started with the opening ceremony, which saw all competitors marching around the school grounds until they were assembled in front of the invited distinguished guests, including the Mayor of Pattaya, Ittipol Khunpleum.

Many may think that blindness will be an obstacle to sports participation, but the blind and visually impaired students want to compete just as sighted students do.

However, blind students can not compete on the same level as sighted people, and sports do have to be adapted.

When playing volleyball, the ball is allowed to bounce once and with the ball having a small bell inside the players listen for the sound of the bell before catching it.

Running events with see people standing around the running track and guiding the runners. If the runner is going off course they are told to run straight, more to the left, more to the right.

Some will have a small piece of string tied to their wrists. The other end is held by a teachers or trainer who will run alongside the blind athlete, but will not help in any way. Rules are strict, and if a trainer is seen to be pulling the athlete, then the runner are disqualified.

There are some very talented athletes at the school. Whilst there are some students who stand at the closing ceremony with not a single medal around their necks, others are almost weighed down by their hoard of gold and silver medals.

But for those who won no medal this year – better lick next year.