Seeing new opportunities in sport

Updated: 2013-10-15 11:23

By Xu Lin (

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Seeing new opportunities in sport

Visually impaired people, each accompanied by a sighted volunteer, run in a race at the fifth Entertainment Sports Meeting for the Visually Challenged in Beijing on Sunday. Xu Lin / China Daily

A group of people, some young, some old, stand in rows beside the National Aquatic Center (Water Cube) on Sunday morning. When the host says "please touch your left ear with your right hand", some of the older people hesitate for a while, before touching their right ear with their left hand.

This is one of several competitions at the fifth Entertainment Sports Meeting for the Visually Challenged. With the help of volunteers, contestants have to do the opposite of the hosts' instructions.

"I participated in all the five sports meetings. It's great fun. I can hang out with my friends and keep fit," says Yang Ruiyun, 49, who has been blind for more than a decade.

More than 120 visually impaired people of different ages joined the games on Oct 13, the Double Ninth Festival (the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar), which advocates filial piety and respect for the elders. About 400 volunteers from companies and universities joined to run the contests and help the visually challenged.

Beijing Hongdandan Education and Culture Exchange Center, which offers many programs to improve quality of life for the visually challenged, launched the annual event in 2009.

There are six other contests - a three-legged race, skipping, relay race, solid ball throwing, two person standing back-to-back, to finish a sprint with a basketball between their back, and tug-of-war.

Each visually impaired contestant was accompanied by a sighted volunteer. Volunteers not only helped with guiding, but also participated in each contest as a group. For example, in races, volunteers held their arms and ran together with the visually impaired people. "If I run alone, I will be worried because I don't know which direction to go. With my volunteer holding my arm, I feel very safe and can run as fast as I can. Without their help, we would not be successful in the game," Yang says.

Seeing new opportunities in sport

Seeing new opportunities in sport

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