The Albinism Fellowship UK and Ireland are proud to support a campaign to end discrimination within international blind sport
Currently, those who want to compete in any blind sport at competitive international level have to go through an eyesight classification process whereby an athlete’s visual field and acuity is tested. Depending on severity, athletes will be classified as either B1, B2, B3 or B4. Those classified as B1, B2 and B3 are eligible to play international blind sports and represent their country, where as those classified as B4 are not. The difference between B3 and B4 is minimal and can vary depending on external factors such as light or tiredness . This system needs to change, and the Albinism Fellowship are calling on others to support the End Discrimination Against B4 Athletes petition
Karina Lang’s story – Time to make a change!
I have a visual impairment, my eye sight is so poor, that I cannot legally drive in the UK and I am registered as sight impaired. I have always been an active person and attempted many sports over the years. However, I was always limited with how far I could take a sport due to my eyesight.
“I then started to play and fell in love with Goalball. Goalball is a specifically designed sport for blind and visually impaired people. “
I was invited to train with the GB Women’s team and was on track to represent GB at the Paralympics. However, this opportunity was torn away from me, when I classified as a B4. To play any Paralympic sport your eyesight has to be classified as B1, B2 or B3. A further frustration is that the difference between B3 and B4 is minimal, so much so, I was told to try again in 2 years and I may classify as a B3 and thus be eligible to play.
This B4 classification left me without any international sporting opportunities. My eyesight is too poor to fairly compete at mainstream sports and yet too good to play a sport specially designed for people like me. This story is not unique to me; Adam Knott was classified as B3 and played for Men’s GB Goalball team for seven years. He was then classified as B4 ending his International Goalball Career.
The current system is outdated and discriminates against a whole group of people who by the rest of the world’s standards count as having a disability, but not the classification system.
“We are looking to change the system, so please take a moment to sign this petition and add your voice to the growing group of people who think the Paralympic should include opportunities for people with a visual impairment like myself.“
Please sign and share the petition, which can be found using the button below.
Or if you have contacts or are an organisation who would be interested in signing our open letter, please email using the button below.