Special Interests (Part I): Showdown, A Table Sport For The Visually Impaired

Our new series takes a look at some unusual or special-interest hobbies that people have in the Czech Republic. The first article in the series covers “Showdown”, a sport specially designed for the visually impaired. Photo credit: Nicky Corstanje.

Brno, Apr 7 (BD) – Showdown is a sport for the blind and visually impaired, similar to table tennis and air hockey. The game is played by two players on a rectangular table, with a centre board screen, and goal pockets on both of the shorter sides. The objective of the game is to bat the ball across the table, under the centreboard screen, into the opponent’s goal, while the opponent tries to prevent this from happening. The ball is filled with small beads so that it is audible.

The players have to wear eye covering to ensure they won’t be able to see the ball, and a glove to protect the batting hand. 

Showdown is a sport for the blind and visually impaired, similar to table tennis and air hockey. Photo credit: Nicky Corstanje.

Every goal scores two points, and when the ball hits the centreboard or is hit off of the table, the opponent gets one point. The player who is first to reach 11 points wins the set.

You can see an example of the game being played here.  

The sport is growing very quickly around the world, under the guidance of the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA), and is played in Brno as well. Last week, an international IBSA tournament took place in Nymburk, Central Bohemia, where about 60 male and 40 female players from all around the world competed against each other. The tournament took place over three days and consisted of an individual competition and a team competition, in which national teams represented their countries.

For Dan Wainwright, 21, from the United Kingdom, the tournament in Nymburk was his first international showdown experience. Besides blind football and goalball, another sport for the blind, Dan has been playing showdown for about a year.

“What I mostly like about showdown is the competitive aspect,” he said. “I am still quite new to the sport, but I learned a lot during the tournament, it was a very good experience.”

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