Vision Sports Ireland (VSI) get information about a steadily increasing number of inclusive sports events held throughout the country. VSI encourage all of our members to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities and try to attend as many as possible of ourselves.
Over the weekend of the 24th and 25th of June we participated in the first ever Watersports Inclusion Games organised by the Irish Sailing Association at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire. The two-day event catered for people of all ages and abilities and offered an inclusive environment for trying out various watersports such as sailing, kayaking, canoeing, rowing and speed boating.
The event was very well organised and every aspect from registering to signing up for a time slot for each activity ensured nobody had to queue for long. A huge number of volunteers from local clubs were available. They were all very helpful and we always found someone to show us where to go next.
The instructors encouraged participants to get involved in the steering of the boats and answered questions about their particular sport and how to get involved. We were especially impressed by the sea scouts who went rowing with us. A lot of teenage girls wouldn’t be prepared or confident enough to spend their weekend bringing people with different disabilities out on boats. We had a great chat with the girls and they showed us how to hold the rows and counted the strokes. Volunteering for this event was great awareness training for them and they will have no issues interacting with people with disabilities in the future.
The whole event was free, including lunch and a healthy barbecue. Everyone enjoyed the sunshine and the atmosphere and we got talking to other participants. On Sunday the activities included fun competitions. The Watersports Inclusion games were a fantastic event for the whole family. Thanks to the Irish Sailing Association and especially to their Inclusion Officer Johanna Murphy for organising this amazing weekend.
There was also an exhibition area where organisations and clubs showcased their activities. Following on from this fantastic Weekend Vision Sports Ireland is planning to organise a have a try sailing day to encourage people to take up a watersport and get involved in a local club. Sign up for our newsletter at www.visionsports.ie, like Vision Sports Ireland on Facebook or follow @VisionSportsIrl on Twitter to get notified of upcoming events.
Especially team sports like rowing and sailing are accessible for people with vision impairments and many clubs also have double kayaks. So get out on the water this summer.
Feel free to contact Rahim our National Sports Development Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0858500193 for advice on how to get involved in a local club.
Tina Paulick VSI
Photo credit: Vision Sports Ireland