17 March 2021
As part of the regional COVID-19 crisis response support program for non-profit youth or sports initiatives, as well as part of the implementation of the Kazan Action Plan, UNESCO provided financial support to the Kairat Blind Football Team, which forms the backbone of the Kazakhstan national team for players with partial or complete vision loss, for the organization of the Blind Football Kazakhstan charity tournament.More recently, Blind Football competitions were included in the official program of the Summer Paralympic Games. The international social project Blind Football Kazakhstan is being implemented in Kazakhstan for the third year and is being actively developed by enthusiasts.
According to the information of the Kazakhstan Football Federation, the participants of the competition are divided according to three international categories: the totally blind belong to the players of the class "B-1"; the visually impaired, depending on the degree of damage to the visual organs, are divided into classes "B-2" and "B-3".
Competitions are held using a special ball. A strictly defined weight reduces its rotation since it is difficult to tame the swirling serves of Blind Football players. Among other things, this ball is equipped with a buzzer, as in the course of such games, players are guided mainly by hearing. Also, the participants' sports uniforms are complemented by special Justa Blind Sports Mask eye patches.
UNESCO, as part of the promotion of inclusive physical activity and sports, covered the Team's expenses for the purchase of specialized equipment, namely, game uniforms, uniforms for guides and goalkeepers, specialized balls and blindfolds, medals and awards for the participants of the tournament.
6 full-fledged teams performed at the charity tournament and competed for three main places. Interestingly, three teams were staffed with players with visual impairment, and the other half consisted of completely sighted, but wearing impenetrable to the light blindfolds of Blind players.
"The tournament was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The organizers and participants have immersed themselves in the unique atmosphere of the Paralympic movement. Many people first encountered such a phenomenon as Blind Football, but quickly mastered the rules of the game and got an unforgettable experience" - said Anatoly Antipin, the head coach of the national team of Kazakhstan in Blind Football.