The first ever women’s blind football tournament was held in Austria this weekend and Japan claimed the win in an historic weekend for 5-a-side football.
Japan won the title by beating an IBSA select team, essentially a European all-stars team as they managed the lone goal in the match. That came through their star Kimushima who scored in the second half, her sixth goal in four matches.
The tournament was played over the weekend in a round-robin with Japan and IBSA Select competing against hybrid teams from across Europe. England/Greece and Russia/Canada made up the rest of the field after a memorable weekend for blind football.
The third place match was between the two hybrid squads, and in a rare football moment, England won a penalty shootout. After a scoreless draw England/Greece defeated Russia/Canada 1-0 on penalties to claim third place.
Japan came through the whole tournament without conceding a single goal, they were always the favourites going in to the tournament. The other teams had never played together until Thursday so the IBSA select giving Japan such a tight match is impressive.
Capping a training camp, the tournament served as the first step in a development plan for IBSA to develop women’s blind football. Currently only men’s blind football is a Paralympic sport and this camp could be the first step to seeing women’s football added.
60 women participated in the first ever IBSA women’s football camp with players from as far as Mexico making the trip to Austria. UEFA’s support helped to fund the project which has begun the process of women’s blind football development.