A photographic journey into the most popular sport among Italian blind people

Not all sports for disabled people become part of the Paralympic program, including Torball, the most popular sport for the blind in Italy. The game involves two teams, each consisting of 3 players. The teams face each other on a playing field 16 meters long and 7 meters wide, divided by three stretched cords equipped with bells at a height of 40cm from the ground.

The Torball involves the use of a spherical ball of 500 grams. Inside this ball there are metal hemispheres: the sound and the trajectory of the ball are perceived and intuited by the players. The players (who are totally blind or visually impaired) are equipped with an eye patch that completely obscures the view and as a reference point they have a mat.

The object of the game is to throw the ball with your hands towards the opponent’s goal to score. If the ball touches the cords a foul is committed. The player who committed the foul is forced out momentarily and the opposing team has a free kick. Three fouls result in a penalty.

The match lasts 10 minutes and is divided into two halves. The team that scores the most goals is obviously the winner. Although the cousin Goalball is a Paralympic sport, Torball is much more widespread in Italy. There are 3 leagues: Serie A, Serie B and Serie C.

This is mainly due to the fact that Goalball requires large infrastructures to set up the pitch, while Torball is usually played in Italian school gyms and does not require large economic investments.

The sports club of the ITALIAN UNION BLIND of Turin has been trying to win the Scudetto for years. A goal that this sports club came particularly close to in 2015, when the team finished the season in second place. While all other sports have been adapted to people with disabilities and always require the assistance of a guide or assistant (running, cycling, football, etc …), Torball is the only sport created specifically for blind people and allows them complete autonomy. This factor, in addition to the spectacular nature of the game itself, makes the practice of Torball interesting and stimulating.

Not even to say the sport for many disabled children turns out to be a salvation, a second life capable of creating strong emotions, adrenaline and human bonds. Fortunately, thanks to the progress of medicine, there are fewer and fewer blind people in Italy. For this reason, Torball is a sport that is gradually becoming less and less played and perhaps destined to disappear.


Ph & Text by Alessandro De Bellis / REFEstudio
IG @alessandro_debellis
IG @refe_studio

Work subject team POLISPORTIVA U.I.C.I Torino