HAVANA, Cuba — Baseball and softball are played by over 65 million people in over 140 countries, and the global sport, which is returning to the Olympic Games in 2020, is also growing among players with disabilities such as visual impairment.

Baseball for the blind players and officials from Cuba, France, Germany and Italy — and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) — recently organised meetings and training in Havana, where baseball for the blind was introduced by the Italian Association of Baseball for the Blind (AIBXC) a few year ago.

Baseball is part of Cuba’s DNA and the nation has eight active blind baseball teams. In 2019, Cuba will organise three new baseball for the blind events, which officials are hoping to use as an opportunity to invite observers and grow the discipline across Latin America, where baseball already has deep roots and the necessary infrastructure.

Jorge Luis Cala of Cuba’s National Association for the Blind said his organisation aims to develop blind baseball across Cuba due to “the long history of quality baseball in Cuba and the benefits baseball brings to blind people.”

WBSC official Tom Nagel said Cuba is key to the development of baseball for the blind in Latin America