The countdown is on! BBS celebrates the official launch of the IBSA World Games.

The countdown is on! BBS celebrates the official launch of the IBSA World Games.

The countdown is on! British Blind Sport celebrates the official launch of the IBSA World Games.

On 27th of April 2022, British Blind Sport (BBS) and our partners Birmingham City Council, Sport Birmingham, UK Sport, MLS GB and the University of Birmingham celebrated the launch of the official countdown to the International Blind Sport Federation (IBSA) World Games, a multi-sport event for blind and partially sighted athletes that will take place in venues across Birmingham from 18th-27th August 2023.

The launch event at the University of Birmingham's iconic Bramall Building was a huge success, with over 130 supporters, athletes and volunteers in attendance. Team GB’s blind and partially sighted athletes took centre stage, including Tokyo Paralympic gold medallists Lora and Neil Fachie, Michael Whapples, Antonia Bunyan, and David Clarke representing RNIB (the lead sponsor of the 2023 IBSA Games), who spoke about the opportunities that a home World Games provided for sport and blind and partially sighted athletes. The Games provide a fantastic opportunity for BBS and Birmingham to showcase blind and partially sighted sports on a global stage, and anticipation for the 2023 World Games is high.

BBS is the national disability sports organisation that represents blind and partially sighted people in sport and physical activity in the UK. As a charity, BBS takes pride in making a visible difference through sport and is confident that the 2023 World Games will accelerate our aspirations and contribute to our mission of empowering blind and partially sighted people to get active and enjoy sport, whether it is taking their first steps or securing talent pathways to encourage individuals to reach their full potential. BBS wants athletes to have the best platform to showcase their skills and ensure that as many people as possible can experience the sports for themselves. Bringing such a diverse range of sports together promises to be a truly inspiring event. We are excited to welcome athletes, team members, officials and supporters from across the globe to the second city next summer and work alongside our partners to host a world-class competition for the athletes, local community and nation.

Sallie Barker, Chair of British Blind Sport, said: “We are so excited that the countdown to the Games has officially begun. The launch was a wonderful opportunity to introduce the blind and partially sighted sporting world to Birmingham and the wider region and we can’t wait to welcome athletes from all over the world to the second city next summer.”

Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive Officer at British Blind Sport, commented: “As the IBSA affiliated organisation representing Great Britain, we are thrilled to have been selected to host the 2023 IBSA World Games. This is an immense opportunity for us and all stakeholders to stage an amazing sporting event for blind and partially sighted people.
This is the first time that the IBSA World Games will be held in the UK and we are delighted that the board of directors at IBSA unanimously voted for Great Britain to host the Games. Our choice of Birmingham as the host city put us in a great position, showcasing to the host selection committee a city that is vibrant, inclusive and welcoming.

Sport has the power to bring people together, act as a catalyst for change and this event will also put BBS on a global stage. We will be working closely with our partners on local, national and international levels to deliver the event, build the capacity of communities to deliver inclusive opportunities and create a lasting legacy.”

About the Event

The IBSA World Games, formerly known as IBSA World Championships and Games, take place every four years. The first Games took place in Madrid, Spain, in 1998. The last Games were held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015. A smaller version was held for judo and goalball – acting as qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 – in Fort Wayne, USA, in 2019.

The Birmingham 2023 World Games will take place between 18th-27th August 2023, with the opening ceremony on Friday 18th August 2023. It is expected that over 1,250 blind and partially sighted athletes will travel from across the world to compete in sports including archery, chess, cricket, judo, goalball, football, powerlifting, shooting, showdown, ten pin bowling and tennis. Football (B1 men), goalball (men and women) and judo (men and women) events will also act as qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

Competing at the Games

The IBSA World Games are a fantastic opportunity for GB athletes to compete against some of the best sportspersons from around the world. The Games entry system will open in January 2023, but general information to capture your Expression of Interest will be available from 1st October 2022. Contact the IBSA World Games at IBSAGames2023@mlsgb.co for more information on event requirements.

The Games Village for the IBSA Games 2023 is based at the Vale, the University of Birmingham, which will also be the Athletes Village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Spectating at the Games

More than 2 million people are living with sight loss in the UK, with over 28,300 registered in Birmingham, including 64 students at Birmingham University. The Games aim to raise awareness of visually impaired sports among the wider public, connect communities and inspire more blind and partially sighted people to engage with or take part in sport and physical activity.

Friends, families and supporters are all welcome to attend the World Games. Ticketing information will be made available closer to the event. There will also be numerous community activation opportunities throughout the Games period to try the sports involved.

Livestreaming will be available throughout the events. More details will be released closer to the IBSA World Games.

Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteers will be at the heart of the Games and will help to deliver an unforgettable event to showcase the best of blind and partially sighted sports.

Over 1,700 athletes and support staff, 136 international officials and 400 volunteers are expected to attend the 2023 Games and will help shape the experience of those attending. From sighted guides to backstage heroes, we are looking for enthusiastic individuals with a wide range of skills to help ensure the games run smoothly. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet people from all backgrounds and be a part of a worldwide celebration.

The Games will be seeking both sighted and visually impaired volunteers. Support will be provided for those who need help with the application/recruitment processes. A full list of volunteering opportunities and how to apply will be made available soon.

For more information on the IBSA World Games 2023, visit: www.IBSAGames2023.co.uk

A group photo of team BBS at the IBSA 2023 World Games launch event.