Greetings to one and all!
It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog entry. However, I must confess I’ve enjoyed uploading and reading some inspirational and spine-tingling entries from the team, I hope you’ve had a similar experience and will continue to support, read and like this excellent blog.
Boosting participation in sport can generate a variety of socio-economic benefits. Sport can, and does, make a profound and positive impact on individuals, communities and wider society. In this blog, I wanted to illustrate the importance of sports, particularly to Vision Impaired people and the positive impact it has had on my life. Despite being from a sporting background, I never had the opportunity of playing any competitive sports until I was 17 years old. Although I did take part in rowing, ten pin bowling and athletics at School, sadly it was never at a competitive level. Thanks to the success of the London 2012 Paralympics, internet and the power of social media, people are now beginning to notice – support and aid in developing sporting opportunities for blind and partially sighted people. I’m confident and pleased to report it is now much easier to discover sporting opportunities, consequently Blind cricket, football and Tennis is flourishing. For example there were between 100 to 200 people playing blind cricket in the UK when I started playing for Metro and now there are 22 clubs and over 400 players enjoying the game! It is important to add, physical activity, including sport, is linked to reduce risk of over 20 illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and some cancers. In addition, taking part in regular sport can save between £1,750 and £6,900 in healthcare costs per person.
Being from a serious cricketing background it was always my passion to play cricket at an international level, but if it wasn’t for my School Linden Lodge and Metro Blind sport, I’d have never achieved my ultimate dream. I was fortunate enough to make my debut for the England blind cricket team at the age of 19 in Sri Lanka in 2006. When I started my international career, I was a timid, inexperienced and a frightened young man, lacking basic mobility skills! But thanks to VI sports, I believe I’m now a lot more confident, mobile and independent, which often leaves my family astonished considering I developed these skills at such a late stage in my life. Published studies show the positive effects of sport on education include improved attainment, lower absenteeism and drop-out, and increased progression to higher education. For instance, young people’s participation in sport improves their numeracy scores by 8% on average above non-participants.
We hope to work with Redlands and Marion Richardson School in the next few weeks in order to raise awareness of various eye conditions, introduce VI cricket and to raise funds for ELVis. I’d also like to thank 10 parents from Marion Richardson School who held a charity lunch and were amazing in raising £295 for East London Vision, we are extremely grateful and appreciate their generosity.
I’d like to point you to a couple of articles that have been recorded and written about me, which will hopefully show some of the barriers I faced and how I got over them. My story isn’t told for sympathy, but rather to push other VI people to take on similar challenges and to achieve their respective dreams. I sincerely do hope, it will encourage more of you to support VI sport in the future. These articles stem from England’s recent Blind Ashes tour of Australia, where I’m pleased to report, we were successful in retaining the Ashes! In fact we beat the Australians emphatically 4 – 1!:P
Just to reiterate, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, uploading, tweeting and reading the various entries. However, my role at Thomas Pocklington Trust will be changing, so whilst I won’t be writing further entries, though I will avidly follow, like and read future blog entries!
My final thanks go to Team ELVis, for all your support!
It seems as if I have broken my own rules and clearly not kept to the word count, but considering it is my last entry, I’m hoping you will forgive me just this once!
Goodbye from Hassan:)