Two women footballers from the city are included in the Indian team at the Blind Football Championship.
Who are they? RC Vijayalakshmi and Keren Kirubai from Chennai made their country proud by playing for India in the first-ever Blind Football Asia/Oceania Championship in Kochi. Vijayalakshmi plays in the midfield and is also a striker, while Kirubai is a goalkeeper. In blind football, the goalkeeper can be a fully sighted person. They played Japan and lost 1-0.
- Vijayalakshmi was introduced to football by a friend and attended a month-long training camp in Pune to prepare. Ever since she began playing in 2020, it’s given her agency and a way to navigate through life.
- Keren Kirubai is a goalkeeper and has previous athletic experience being a state-level shotput and discus thrower.
Background and challenges: The state’s Blind Football Association (TNBFA) helps budding players and harnesses talent. They help blind athletes navigate their way on and off the field.
- One challenge that remains is the lack of training infrastructure. Despite the paralympic association having certain criteria under its ambit, blind football isn’t one of them.