The AFP has an amazing story today about a blind boxer in Uganda. 36-year-old Bashir Ramathan lost his sight 12 years ago, but that hasn’t deterred him from taking back up a sport he trained for as a child.
But if you’re like us, you’re saying: Uh, dude, how exactly do you box when you’re blind?It turns out that some hardy souls agree to box Ramathan blindfolded, to even things out. Otherwise, safe to say Ramathan would be a human pinata.
Ramathan also lets us in on his distinct advantage over his sightless opponent:
Ramathan admits boxing is more difficult without sight, but says he has learned how to “see” with his ears.
In matches, he listens for the breathing and the footsteps of the other boxer to guide his own actions. When the floor is too padded to allow noise, a coach stands outside of the ring to shout directions to both blindfolded boxers.
Ramathan is trying to find his way to the Paralympics, but doesn’t have a sponsor. But in reading the story, which you really should, you realize that boxing for Ramathan is much more than just the formal competition for him.
Boxing is what helps him forget his disability. “There are no differences here, we are all the same,” he says, gesturing around the lively club. “Boxing makes me feel more and more normal.”