Metro Blind Sport has made history by launching blind tennis in Germany.
Metro Blind Sport Chair Amanda Green and its Tennis Committee Chair Odette Battarel held the German Blind Tennis workshop in Cologne from April 29 to May 1 – the first time blind tennis had been played in Germany.
The workshop was organised by Deutscher Blinden-und Sehbehindertenverband e.V. (DBSV), the German Blind and Visually Impaired Association, and the Gold-Kraemer-Foundation’s Tennis for All project.
Pocklington Voice followed up with Odette about how the workshop went after we spoke to her last month ahead of the trip.
Odette, SELVis Project Development Manager, said the workshop in Germany was a success, with participants from towns all over Germany, as well as Austria and Turkey attending.
She said she and Amanda gave an introductory talk about blind tennis before playing and coaching for two days, which included teaching details about the net, how you decide who serves and the orientation of the court.
Odette said the main reaction they received was that people didn’t believe they would be able to play tennis and the fact that they were playing it was amazing.
“Some of the participants were totally blind and had no clue about tennis. But a number of the people do listen to tennis on the radio or television so it was a bit of a revelation that it was possible,” she said.
Odette said it was exciting to teach the participants about blind tennis.
“It’s always really rewarding to start with a group that’s a bit sceptical and shy and you get to day three and they can’t put the racket down. The transformation in just a few days is energising.”
She said by the end of the weekend all of the participants were looking forward to growing and developing the sport in their towns, and were going to join the International Blind Tennis Association.
Odette said Gold-Kraemer-Foundation trainer Niklas Höfken, who ran the event, offered ongoing support for everyone involved, including help to find venues ad sourcing equipment.
“He was taking orders for tennis balls and selling tennis rackets on the spot.”
Odette and Amanda also played some show matches for the press who attended the workshop.