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IBSA World Games: a long-lasting legacy for accessible sport!

IBSA World Games: a long-lasting legacy for accessible sport!

From Blind Football, Judo, Archery, Chess and Showdown, our campus saw plenty of action with more than 1,250 visually impaired athletes from across 70 countries competing in the IBSA World Games. It was a phenomenal event that our team delivered alongside event organisers, MLS.

After the buzz of last summer’s 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, we dove straight into coordinating the delivery of the IBSA World Games, a major sporting international event showcasing some extraordinary talent with many competitors qualifying for the Paris Paralympics 2024.

How did we make it happen?

Working with IBSA event organisers MLS, our team strategically planned how each venue would be adapted to fulfil the requirements for the five official sports events we hosted. This included the Teaching and Learning building, Bournbrook Pitches, Staff House, UB Sport Fitness Centre, and adapting student accommodation at the Vale Village for athletes to reside in during the two-week competition. All operations were coordinated with UoB Sport, catering, accommodation, security, cleaning, parking and portering teams across Campus Services. Conferences & Events played a key role in improving accessibility across campus and providing visual awareness training for more than 400 customer-facing staff.

In the build up to the Games, our Events Management team also helped organise, plan and delivered a two-day eye health conference in conjunction with IBSA showcasing groundbreaking academic research that looked into ocular drug development, ophthalmic devices and the use of AI in healthcare. The conference was a spectacular success welcoming around 100 scientists and clinicians from across the UK and Australia to present their findings and celebrate the upcoming IBSA World Games.

Highlights of the Games:

  • the first-ever IBSA Athletes’ Village, hosting almost 2,000 athletes and support staff. Over 50,000 meals and rooms were cleaned 16,000 times
  • more than 400 University staff benefitted from visual awareness training led by our team
  • accessibility was improved across campus, with 166 tactile signs, colour contrast lines and audio-visual description guides videos, produced with Thomas Pocklington Trust that help athletes to safely navigate our venues and accommodation
  • we hosted the first-ever Women’s Blind Football World Championship
  • more than 10,000 hours of volunteering
  • 800 medals awarded across 97 ceremonies
  • hosting the Activation Zone at Chancellor’s Court in partnership with British Blind Sport, giving free sporting taster sessions and insights into how sport is adapted for visually impaired people
  • 62 Blind Football matches across two weeks- that was six matches per day
  • a celebratory official closing ceremony at The Bramall

Legacy for the future of accessible sport

The Games have provided a springboard for improving accessibility in sport and venues across the University. We’ll continue to work with Thomas Pockington Trust to create more audio descriptive videos to help students, staff and visually impaired guests navigate safely around our venues.  

“Without doubt these Games have created an appetite for inclusive sport, and showcased the University of Birmingham as a prime venue for major sporting events.
Portrait of Sally
Sally Badham Lee
Head of Conferences & Events

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©️ Richard Hall Photography

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