Progressive Vision are Proud to Sponsor the Irish Blind Tennis Team at the World Blind/VI tennis world championships in August 2023

Progressive Vision are Proud to Sponsor the Irish Blind Tennis Team at the World Blind/VI tennis world championships in August 2023

August 16, 2023

Progressive Vision are delighted to sponsor the Irish team for the Blind/VI tennis world championships which will take place from 18-27 August 2023 at the University of Birmingham. This year the tennis world championships are taking place as part of the International Blind Sports Association World Games which will include ten sports with 1250 athletes from over 70 countries.  This will be the first time that tennis will be included in these Games which take place every four years.

According to Liam O’ Donoghue of Tennis Ireland “the games are like a Mini- Olympics for blind and visually impaired people.  Twenty nations will compete in the tennis games.

The Irish team consists of eight players supported by a team of three coaches.

It’s a strong team including three players with previous world championship experience.  It is a diverse team – six of the players are female, the age range is 15 to 62, and the players are drawn from all four Provinces.  The team was selected after the National Championships at Shankill in April.

The team are working hard to use this opportunity to raise awareness about the sport through media appearances on radio, TV and social media channels.

Tennis Ireland and Vision Sports Ireland introduced the game to Ireland and are working actively towards the goal of a club for blind/vi players in every county in Ireland.  Sport Ireland have been very supportive of the sport which is now the fastest growing blind/vi sport in Ireland and worldwide.


What is blind/Vision Impaired(VI)  tennis?

This is a short (5mins) video documentary made by the National College of Art and Design which gives a very good insight into the game and its players.

Blind/vision impaired tennis is played on a smaller court, with lower nets and using an audible ball so players can hear it bounce and being hit. The audible ball has a bell inside it. Tactile lines are used to enable players with no sight to locate the lines and their position on the court.. Depending on the player’s sight level they can have up to three bounces of the ball before they must return it back to their opponent.  The following paralympic sight classifications are used.

B1: This category is for players with no vision

B2   & B3: Both of these categories cover people with a low level of vision. People in the B3 category will be able to see more than those in the B2

B4  This category is for players with up to c 20% vision.

B1 and B2 are allowed up to three bounces.  B3 is allowed up to two bounces. B4 are allowed one bounce.

When serving the ball all players must use the “ready” “yes” “play” procedure to allow their opponent know that they are about to serve the ball. They will ask their opponent if they are ready, confirm that they have replied “yes” and announce that they are about to begin play before serving.

Babs Weiborg from Dundalk originally from Hamburg is delighted to have been picked for the team.

Babs’ sight loss began 21 years ago, and by the time she was diagnosed, had already lost 50% of her vision.

“So if I can give one message, please get your eyes checked, because if it’s slow deterioration, you don’t feel it. But the earlier you go, the better they can help you,” she says. “They tried lots of things, but they couldn’t stop further deterioration, and now if I say it by percentage, I can see about 5% and even though you are sitting less than a metre away from me, I can’t see the details of your face.”

Progressive Vision would like to congratulate the players on their selection and wishes the team and coaches the very best of luck in the Games in Birmingham.


About the Irish team

Lisa McLaughlin  B1  Windsor TC

Stuart Haxell        B1  Sligo TC

Babs Weiborg      B2 Shankill TC

Vinny Keane        B2 Rosslare/Naas/ Tramore TC

Marguerite Quinn B3  Ballina Killaloe TC

Ariadna  Flociuc  B4 Shankill TC

Doris  Finley        B4 Windsor TC

Rya Devereux      B4   Shankill TC

Team Manager:  Wesley O’Brien, Ballina Killaloe TC

Coaching team: Simon McFarland and Ann-Marie Breen from Tennis Ireland