Two of Ireland’s most prominent sports bodies have today joined forces to urge people with sight loss to get involved in sports activities, particularly running.
Vision Sports ,the National Governing Body, unique in Ireland as the only organisation that is solely dedicated to encouraging participation in sport for people with impaired vision, and ‘Park Run’, have come together to speak about the benefits of sporting activity.
Speaking at a presentation of 100 Sighted Guide Identity Bibs, Joe Geraghty, National Development Officer, Vision Sports Ireland said;
“Vision Sports and Parkrun are two young vibrant national sports bodies whose goal is to promote health and wellbeing through sport. Parkrun welcome walkers and runners with vision impairment to their weekly Saturday runs nationwide. As a gesture of thanks Vision Sports Ireland are delighted to present Parkrun Ireland with guide identity bibs. The bibs can be worn by volunteer guides to help other participants’ awareness as they run, behind, alongside or pass out a vision impaired walker or runner” .
Successful athlete, Jason Smyth, known as the ‘fastest Paralympian on the planet’, and who sits on the Board of Vision Sports Ireland said,
“This is a fantastic initiative, it is vital to build awareness around sporting participation for visually impaired people. I have always loved sport and I am passionate about getting other people with sight loss involved. It has a whole host of benefits from physical health to mental health to emotional health”. “ Also you learn discipline, you make sacrifices, you gain confidence; all attributes that serve people well in life in general”.
Joe Geraghty praised Parkrun for its co operation with Vision Sports, calling it a mutually beneficial partnership “As an Optometrist Joan Ryan has a keen interest in sight loss. Last September Joan watched Vision Sports Ireland on RTE’s Celebrity Operation Transformation. Seeds sown, Joan, an enthusiastic parkrunner, promoted participation by blind and vision impaired participants. Soon she became Republic of Ireland Visually Impaired Ambassador for Parkrun Ireland. We are so lucky to have Joan as our parkrun leader.”