Getting into Sport

Lee Hoy has been blind since birth because of a condition known as Toxoplasmosis. He started training with South Shields Fighting Fit, a local sports group that we do a lot of work with, two years ago, and Origin Sports coach Ian Malone has been working with Lee on his grappling skills a lot over the last few months.

Lee initially started training martial arts to gain some self confidence, but quickly took to the sport, and has earned medals in his last two jiu jitsu tournaments, beating sighted opponents. He now hopes to compete in mixed martial arts.


'I’m a totally changed person because of the sport, and feel a lot more confident in myself and happy. I can walk the streets with my head high, and feel that I can look after myself if I need to,’ he told the Shields Gazette." adding "I love the sport to bits, and I’ve tried to persuade a lot of my visually-impaired and blind friends to take it up"

Lee started his training in private one-to-one sessions to build his confidene, before joining the main classes, where he trains with both beginners and experienced members of both the Fighting Fit and Origin teams. He is an inspiration to not just those who are visually-impaired, but anyone who is thinking of giving sport a go.

One of the biggest barriers to participation in sports is a lack of awareness of the opportunities available in the local area. Many people would love to be more active and get involved with a local club or team, but they simply don't know what options they have.

That's what Spogo are trying to fix. Spogo is a Lottery funded charity that aims to improve participation in sport by helping people find classes, clubs and teams in their area. In addition, it aims to inform people about different sports and combat the misconception that sports are only for young people and natural athletes.

If you are interested in trying a new sport, take a look at the Spogo search tool in the sidebar of this site. The Spogo directory covers everything from archery to zumba, so there should be something in your area that appeals to you and your family.