What does it mean to you to be appointed Captain / Vice Captain of the 2019 Vision Cup ?
The International Blind Golf Association (IBGA) promotes the sport of golf by sponsoring several international events each year. The Vision Cup is the only IBGA-sponsored event which is a match play team event along the same lines as the famous Ryder Cup, and is the only IBGA event where players (from each sight category) are selected based on their performance over the preceding two years. To be selected as a competitor in this event is a great honour, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity of captaining the Rest of the World team. The Vision Cup affords a great opportunity for marketing our sport, as well as sport for the vision impaired in general, not just in the host country but around the world. Having captains and vice-captains from various different countries will hopefully provide inspiration to blind golfers in our home countries.
Tell me why playing golf is important to you ?
I learned the game of golf as a visually impaired teenager, and have enjoyed the game for decades since. The main enjoyment I get from golf is the personal challenge. Golf, as with life in general, always poses difficult challenges and requires one to deal with the ups and downs. From an outsiders perspective it may appear that golf is not the best game for someone with limited eyesight, but one of its beauties is that it is a game which can be enjoyed by people of any age or physical ability.
What is your national association doing to promote the inclusion of young people in blind golf ?
South African Blind Golf is still a relatively small association. However, we realize the importance of developing the game through growing youth participation. To this end we have promoted the game of golf at local schools for the blind, and have included a development category in our recent ISPS Handa South African Opens.
What excites you about the VSI Inclusion Games, and the role that the Vision Cup has to play to promote this ?
The Vision Sports Ireland Inclusion Games is an exciting way of encouraging the youth to get involved in sports alongside sighted/able-bodied athletes. The Vision Cup should play an important role in encouraging visually impaired youngsters to try the game of golf, and to strive to participate at the highest level. Furthermore, by including some of the top blind golfers from around the world it will hopefully also play a part in showing sighted golfers that golf is a game which can also be played by the blind and vision impaired and may help encourage them to participate in the activities of local blind golf organisations.
Would you like to say anything about the importance of ISPS Handa to the development of golf for blind and disabled around the world.
It is not possible to thank Dr Handa and ISPS Handa enough for the support they have provided, through the IBGA, to blind golf around the world. Their generous sponsorship allows hundreds of blind golfers from around the world access to competition in various Open events each year. The enthusiasm of ISPS Handa to promote the game of golf, and to strive to have golf recognised as a Paralympic sport, will leave a tremendous legacy.