Sign up for our Newsletter today
and keep up-to-date with all your local news!


20140211 Blind-Congress JS IMG 6592 featureFirst, about a half dozen children gathered in a circle to review rectangular boards representing the tennis court with braille numbering.

Then, they were led around the gymnasium, bending down to feel a roped taped down to mark the boundaries of the makeshift court. Next, they felt the net after crossing to the other side.

The visually impaired children are part of a movement in the United States to play blind tennis, which was started in Japan in 1984. It’s played just like tennis for those with sight, but servers must first ask if his or her opponent is ready before serving and a special ball that jingles is used.

Eunice Santos, whose 14-year-old son has been blind since birth, said the vision of Miradas de Esperanza, an organization based in Reynosa that is spreading the sport through Tennis for the Blind in Texas, is to participate in the Paralympics in 2020.

It only started in the Valley in June, but Santos said her son, Salvador Villa, has been practicing daily. It showed as Villa, the oldest participant, easily found the tennis ball as organizers bounced it for each child to take a swing at.

“Japan has adults playing in national levels, but they’re adults,” Santos said in Spanish. “We’re the first organization to carry children.”

Those attending the International Blind Tennis Congress in Mission on Monday not only had a chance to see the children get acquainted with the sport, but also watched an exhibition match between the top tennis players in Japan versus the top team from Mexico.

Mission City Manager Martin Garza said there were people representing several countries, including South Korea, Spain and Australia.

Santos said she’s seen her son gain self-esteem, confidence and optimism at being able to compete on a national level and not being limited by his capability.

“This is a big opportunity for them,” she said. “We want to bring out the kids, so that they know they’re not just blind, and they don’t feel like they don’t have a choice and they can’t do anything. They can play and have something to cheer for and be happy.”

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Articles x
  • 08/01/2014
  • By News Service

Valley native Mikey López debuts for Sporting KC in first regular-season MLS game

KANSAS CITY – Almost a year ago Mission native Mikey López stood at a podium before a national audience when he was selected in the Major League Soccer SuperDraft. On July 16, the Valley midfielder made...

Local News
  • 05/05/2014
  • By News Service

CBP to deploy two additional aerostats in Rio Grande Valley

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has completed the operational utility evaluation of three aerostats that were deployed in the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector in November 2013, and is...

Please complete all fields.

By subscribing you acknowledge notification of this site’s privacy policies, terms and conditions, and drawing rules, and agree to all privacy policies, terms and conditions, and drawing rules posted on this site. Please see our drawing rules here.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required