Gymnastics providing opportunities for gymnasts who are blind or vision impaired 

On Friday 27 October Gymnastics Victoria and Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria launched Blindsports Gymnastics at VicHealth in Carlton.

The function included a Blindsports Gymnastics workshop for Gymnastics clubs and coaches as well as an event where members of the Gymnastics community could share stories about how gymnasts who are blind and vision impaired have been welcomed into Gymnastics. 

The launch concluded with the new Blindsports Gymnastics promotional video being shown and a wrap up speech from Maurice Gleeson, the CEO of Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria. 

“We need to encourage everyone who is blind or vision impaired to take up this Blindsports Gymnastics opportunity,” said Maurice while praising the work of Gymnastics Victoria in the inclusion space.

Director of Essendon Keilor Gymnastics Academy (EKGA) Christy Hemphill spoke about her family connection with vision impairment and the way her coaches have developed their skills through being a part of the program.

“Coaches who work in our BlindGym program have become much better communicators because you can’t simply demonstrate activities. All coaches should be trained to deliver Blindsports Gymnastics,” said Christy. 

A highlight of the launch event was hearing from Annalyse Leonard who is legally blind and both a coach and participant at Palmers Gym in Bendigo.

“I had always been picked last in sports classes and thought my vision impairment would stop me from being able to do anything active. Then I found Gymnastics,” said Annalyse.

“I can’t remember another time in my life where I have felt so accepted and included. Now I am just Anna, or Anna the gymnast and coach, instead of Anna with a disability.”

Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Tim Bourke stressed the significance of programs like Blindsports Gymnastics in the community.

“It’s so important that everyone has access to sport and recreation programs like this,” said Tim, commending the work Gymnastics Victoria and Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria have done to launch Blindsports Gymnastics. 

The foundations are now in place for Gymnastics clubs around Victoria to run Blindsports Gymnastics with 12 clubs trained in Friday’s session with the workshop ready to be rolled out to more clubs in the coming months.

To watch the Blindsports Gymnastics promotional video and learn more about the program click here