They’ve never watched a game of tennis. Or even seen a tennis ball.
But that’s not stopping them from playing the sport.
Meet a group of blind tennis players in Singapore — Kelvin Tan, Wan Wai Yee, Steady Goh, Ong Hock Bee, Mohammad Ivni Bin Yaakuv and their friends — who spend Saturday mornings playing the sport of soundball — tennis played with special balls that rattle when they bounce.
Each week, they gather at either SAVH (Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped) Woodwork shop or Toa Payoh East CC’s badminton court and hit balls for an hour and a half each session.
Wei Lian, who shot to fame in 2005 by winning Mandarin singing competition, Project Superstar, said, “We face lots of challenges while playing because it’s all about hearing. The only problem I face is actually the height of the ball rather than the direction.”
The road to mastering the game can be tough. But they have the confidence to overcome the obstacles and they are also helped by volunteers.
Ivni said, “When you are not able to hit the ball week after week it can be quite frustrating. But it’s all about the confidence in ourselves that we will be able to do it.”
The players will also be participating in the Standard Chartered Marathon (10 km) together with volunteer guides to raise funds for proper equipment and facilities.