‘Being registered blind was a really hard pill to swallow’: Partially blind man turns into sports to boost confidence

Gareth Davies, a partially blind man gets nominated for the Disability Sports Wales awards under the ‘Inspiring my Journey’ category.

The visually impaired rugby team in Wales

A partially blind man gets nominated for a sports award as he inspires people to indulge themselves in sports during the pandemic.

Gareth Davies, the partially blind rugby player

Gareth Davies, who is a part of the visually impaired rugby team has now been nominated under the ‘Inspiring my Journey’ category of the Disability Sports Wales awards.

A tweet announcing the finalists of the DSW award

“I am very proud and happy to be nominated for the DSW awards. I feel very positive”, said Davies. He has been a part of the visually impaired rugby team for the past three years. He used to play actual rugby before he got diagnosed with a sight loss condition.

“I was a rugby player throughout my youth and teenage years until my 20s when I was then diagnosed with this sight loss condition called retinitis pigmentosa. I had been into sport up until that time but then found that diagnosis and being registered blind was a really hard pill to swallow”, said Davies.

Gareth Davies in action during a rugby match

The Change Foundation introduced visually impaired rugby in 2015. Talking about the sport, Davies said, “Luckily I found Change foundation who introduced the visually impaired rugby.”

“What I love about this is that it is so close to the real game. You actually feel like you’re playing rugby again even though all the other guys have sight loss as I have, you don’t notice that. The most important thing about that for me is that when we’re on that pitch, we’re just rugby players.”

Davies has been a part of the visually impaired rugby team for the past three years. He said, “I was looking for a team sport because I really missed the camaraderie that you have with rugby, the banter, the teamwork, the laughs, and everything that goes on in the rugby club on and off the pitch.”

James Ledger, an athlete who took part in Commonwealth Games 2018

James Ledger, a visually impaired athlete who is currently training for the next Commonwealth Games said, “ The Disability Sports awards are virtual this time. Things are very different. But it’s not just about the award. It’s more about the recognition and what people can achieve during these difficult times. It’s great to see and hear about such inspirational stories about people really working hard even though everyone’s going through something at the moment with this virus. It’s very motivational to see people just carrying on and continuing to work hard and achieve great things that they deserve.”