Formation of International Blind Tennis Association
Internationally, it was agreed to refer to the game as Blind Tennis. The terminology “Visually Impaired Tennis”, was not understood by other countries. This also sets it in line with Wheelchair Tennis as an instantly recognised concept. Today, there are around 42 countries enjoying Blind Tennis.
Originally designed in Japan in 1997, as a rehabilitation therapy by Miyoshi Takei. It was originally played on badminton courts using 21 inch rackets, this progressed to playing on the service boxes of a tennis court, for a few years. Vision 4 Growth was one of the first vi tennis providers to adopt the International Rules (which emerged from the International Conference 2015), setting the games on mini red and orange courts. In 2015, we became one of the first tournaments to use these new courts to the overwhelming delight of participants.
Having the longer narrower court for B2-B5 made the game more energetic. Players were encouraged to stand back moving forward and rallied improved through this section.
Establishing a strict sight classification, ensured fair play together with adherence to bounce allowances.
“The improvement of pace, co-ordination and skills of players has been incredible and for audiences it has created a much more energetic and intense game to watch.”
Alex Wheen, Head Coach, V I Tennis Cambridge
The B1 game was originally set across the court, effectively encouraging 2 games to be in progress. This was later changed to being delivered over the main net on one court using tactile lines and in 2017 adapting a new measured court to be in line with International Blind Tennis. In 2015, it was agreed that all B1 players should be shaded. This produced a new structure to the game and players thrived on the challenge. Vision 4 Growth have dominated B1 tennis both regionally and nationally. See Our Tournaments page.
Today, there are around 43 countries enjoying blind tennis. An international Committee was formed in 2015 in Mexico, all leading providers, including Vision 4 Growth were invited to attend a conference. The Tennis Foundation, Metro Blind Sports and V I Tennis York were among UK delegates who attended. In 2016, an international meeting in Italy established the perimeters of Blind Tennis and looked at guidelines.
Amanda Green, our UK representative, has now taken over the Presidency. In April 2017, the first International games will be staged in Loughborough. All countries involved in Blind Tennis were invited.
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