Mr Takei Miyoshi invented Blind Tennis in Japan in 1984. He was a pioneer in a new racket sport and a role model to the visually impaired. He was born in 1968 and lost his eyesight at the age of one and a half. When he was 16, as a high school student, he dreamed of playing tennis with the able-bodied and created tennis for the blind.
Mr Takei worked tirelessly at developing a tennis ball specifically tailored for the blind. His devotion to the sport drew many supporters who joined him in his work. In 1990, the first ever tournament for the visually impaired was held in Japan. Over a 21-year span, Mr Takei was National Champion on 16 occasions. His long term dream and legacy was that blind tennis continues to grow and be played all over the world by as many people as possible.
“We have to take responsibility both for success and failure,” Mr Takei said at a lecture on the sport in 2007. He stressed the importance of independence for the visually impaired in both sport and everyday life. Blind Tennis – also known as Sound Ball – is now played in Europe, North America, Latin America, and across Asia-Pacific.
Miyoshi Takei lost his life in a tragic accident at a Tokyo train station on January 16th 2011. The Blind Tennis founder died at the age of 42, but the sport continues to build momentum as it targets inclusion at the Paralympics.