Rahim Nazarali

2 participants partaking in a judo match

Name: Rahim Nazarali

County: Dublin

Sport: Judo

Athlete Story: Speaking with Vision Sports, Rahim shared his story.

“I was first introduced to sport at St. Joseph’s School In Drumcondra which is now known as Child Vision. I went there from the age of 7. As children we were encouraged to participate in many sports such as Football Leagues, running, swimming and general sports days. I remember when I played football I could not really see the ball so I was put in goal. Every Thursday we went to Malahide to go horse riding, I loved the independence of controlling the horse, the speed and the high jumps.

When I was 11 I was introduced to judo. I loved Judo from the outset. It is a sport suitable for people with a vision impairment as all judo players must take a grip of their fellow player before beginning a judo practice  or competition. My brothers went to Karate and Taekwondo classes and martial art films were a big thing in my house. It was great to be part of the action and feel included in the banter at  home. I loved taking part in a sport where I could compete against opponents with and without vision impairments.


Photo of a male participant learning how to drive at Zero Limits

I love the feel-good factor of physical sports and taking part in an activity. When representing my club and Ireland in national and international competitions I enjoyed being part of a team and the camaraderie.

It is still important to me to keep fit and exercise through cardio and strength training in the gym and currently at home. Before COVID19 I was a regular gym goer as well as taking part in swimming classes. I also participated in watersports, especially water skiing and I progressed to wakeboarding. I have also taken on some other challenges such as walking the full length of the Royal and Grand canal and a few Tandem cycles around the country. During COVID times I had to adapt my exercise routine. I now exercise at home using Blind Alive Eyes Free Fitness recordings and videos from a gym I used to go to. I designed my own kettle bell weight training and go for walks with my guide dog Paris most days.

Achievements: My biggest sporting achievement to date is representing Ireland as a judo player  at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta.

Hero: I was a big fan of Bruce Lee. Not only was he a great Martial Artist, but he also survived a major back injury which could have ended his career. He recovered through many methods of self improvement  and  his mantra was to always find the positive in everything he did to better himself.

Advice: I think trying out many different sports will give you the opportunity to  find out what you are good at and what sports suits you as an individual. With every sport and activity you can have a bad experience due to people’s lack of awareness or interest in inclusion, however  overall  I  have been welcomed at most clubs and gyms. My approach is to be honest from the start about what I require and if I feel my needs are not being met, I will negotiate to find a solution. Talking to other people with a vision impairment, who take part in  sports or fitness can also help you to get useful tips.

My biggest challenge in taking part in sports was not lack of inclusion or resources, but transport. For example, getting to unfamiliar or difficult to reach venues for training sessions or competitions and competitions starting early on a Sunday before public transport is running.

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