Research has shown that organized sports contribute greatly to a person's confidence, coordination, and self-esteem. For physically challenged people, sports can be invaluable in helping them overcome their disabilities and get beyond any feelings of impairment. For blind and visually impaired people, sports can be particularly challenging, but can also be particularly rewarding.
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) was founded in 1981 in Paris, France, and since then, the organization has been evolving steadily to adapt to the continual changes in the arena of sports for the blind and visually impaired. The IBSA, with its headquarters in Bonn, Germany, has been registered as a nonprofit public interest organization, and the group serves as full members in the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). They are legitimate representatives and advocates for sporting activities for blind people, ensuring that their needs are met, and they have access to appropriate training and events.
As a nonprofit organization, the IBSA is able to operate as a unique entity, with the sole purpose of developing and promoting sports for the blind and visually impaired. They are also committed to assisting national member organizations all over the world, especially groups in countries that have had difficulties spreading the word within their countries, and countries that do not have officially established school sports programs for children with visual impairments, or local and national competitions.
The sporting events sponsored by the IBSA include Alpine skiing, judo, goalball, swimming, powerlifting, cycling, archery, ten-pin bowling, futsal (football with five players on each side), biathlons, shooting, nine-pin bowling, Nordic skiing, and general athletics.
The IBSA believes that sporting is the perfect way to support integrating disabled people generally, and particularly the blind. Getting involved in sports can help people overcome their disabilities, by empowering their self-esteem and encouraging them in overcoming difficulties, and by aiding their normalization in a daily living environment. In essence, sports can help bring about a complete sense of fulfillment for athletes who are visually impaired, and the IBSA, which has a mission to help achieve those goals, is doing pretty well.
The IBSA World Championships and Games are held every four years, and the first edition took place in 1998, in Madrid, Spain. The 5th edition is scheduled to be held in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015.