Miyoshi Takei, the creator of tennis for the visually impaired, lost his eyesight as a baby but not his dream to play tennis. In 1984, as a high school student, he created a sound-adapted ball that visually impaired athletes could use to play the sport. After inventing and adapting the sport, Mr. Takei became Japan’s visually impaired tennis champion 17 times.
His ultimate goal was that tennis for the visually impaired would be played worldwide. He wanted it to be included in the 2020 Paralympics, joining judo, alpine skiing, cycling, and sailing. Sadly, Mr. Takei passed away in a train accident on January 16, 2011. Although he is no longer with us, the founder of TS, Sejal Vallabh, established Tennis SERVES in 2010 to keep his dream alive by bringing his sport to the United States.
Tennis for the Blind Today
Today, the sport has become extremely popular in Japan, and has spread to neighboring countries including South Korea, China, and Taiwan. The Asia Conference for the Promotion of Blind Tennis, headquartered in Japan, is working hard to get the sport sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee. Recently, a delegation from England visited and trained with Mr. Takei in order to start a program in the UK. Tennis SERVES seeks to bring this sport to U.S., where many blind athletes can benefit from it.