IBSA Games 2023 launch in style at the University of Birmingham
Earlier today, the team were proud to host the launch of 2023’s International Blind Sport Federation Games.
This spectacular began the countdown to the World Games which will take place in venues across Birmingham in August 2023 – including here at the University, which will provide the Games Village for athletes and other sports facilities.
An inclusive welcome
We’re detail people at C&e, so after listening to our partners we had a clear concept of what was needed.
First, an accessible setting with good lighting throughout, no surprising uneven surfaces, enough space for a range of purposes, and audio-visual facilities that would support a livestream on IBSA’s YouTube channel, ensuring a global audience could be there.
Then, an event which put the right people in the spotlight: the athletes themselves.
Lastly, consideration for ways we might embrace the opportunity to think beyond the obvious.
With two central venues connected by a single gently-sloping corridor, we could readily incorporate two styles of events. The official launch took place in the modern Bramall auditorium, with stairs taped to improve visibility and extra stewards provided to help guests take their seats. Furniture was removed from the foyer to ensure comfortable level access, and from the corridor joining the venues to allow free flow.
The event then moved naturally to a more relaxed meet-and-greet in the Great Hall, where guests enjoyed two sports demonstrations from visually-impaired athletes: Showdown and Judo.
As for thinking the beyond the obvious? We always like to keep our guests well fed and watered, and the eight guide dogs on site were no exception – so we made sure we had plenty of dog bowls and other comforts for them too.
Delivering the goods when it counts
Why do these Games matter so much? As record goal-scoring Paralympics GB footballer and RNIB Chief Operating Officer David Clarke puts it:
“There are many sports that people wrongly think blind and partially-sighted people are unable to participate in. It is my sincere hope that this global event will encourage more people with sight loss to get involved in sport, as well as encouraging sports providers to take proactive steps to be welcoming and inclusive.”
It’s also a topic close to the University of Birmingham’s heart. Academic research currently underway at the Medical School includes developing a range of treatments to prevent sight loss. The School of Education is also home to the Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR), the UK’s largest teacher training provider for children and young people with vision impairment.
“We are developing sight-saving treatments at the University of Birmingham, some of which are entering into clinical trials – this is a very exciting time for us. And it’s an exciting time to be in science.” – Dr Lisa Hill, University of Birmingham.
The C&e team are already making plans for the 2023 Games Village, from nutritious menus tailored for high-performance athletes to innovative pathfinding around the campus. Watch this space.