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Blind soccer at Yunnan Normal University

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The National Disabled Games are underway in Kunming, featuring top disabled athletes from all of China's administrative regions. One of the more popular spectator events so far has been blind soccer, held all week at Yunnan Normal University from 3-6 pm.

For those unfamiliar with blind soccer, the teams compete in five-a-side matches, including a non-blind goalkeeper who directs his teammates, but cannot leave his small goal box. The players, who wear padding and blindfolds over their eyes, locate the ball via a rattle inside the ball.

The enclosed field is about one-quarter the size of a full-size soccer field. Lightly padded blue walls along the sidelines help keep the ball in play and give the players a sense of boundaries.

When the ball is in play, players shout "Wei! Wei!" to let their teammates know where they are. They dribble the ball carefully and cover ground surprisingly fast.The constant contact between the players combined with their competitive spirits make the game fast-paced and gritty.

The spectators surrounding the field appeared to be impressed by the players' performances. The crowd whistled and applauded loudly when a player from Heilongjiang broke through three Tianjin defenders to score his second goal of the half.

"It's much more fast-paced than I thought it would be," said Ren Yinyun, a spectator watching the Heilongjiang vs Tianjin match. "It looks a little strange at first, but some of the players are great."

Yunnan Normal University will host 16 more matches - four each afternoon from now until Saturday. Teams competing include Chongqing, Fujian, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Tianjin and hometown favorites Yunnan. The Yunnan Normal University soccer fields are located at the main campus' north end. From the main entrance on Yieryi Dajie, walk straight toward the back of campus. After crossing the train tracks the fields can be found on the left. Admission is free.

Today
Field One:
3:00 Hebei vs Fujian
4:30 Heilongjiang vs Jiangsu
Field Two
3: 00 Tianjin vs Liaoning
4:30 Chongqing vs Yunnan

Thursday
Field One
3:00 Hebei vs Yunnan
4:30 Tianjin vs Chongqing
Field Two
3:00 Jiangsu vs Fujian
4:30 Heilongjiang vs Liaoning

Friday
Field One
3:00 Liaoning vs Jiangsu
4:30 Fujian vs Yunnan
Field Two
3:00 Heilongjiang vs Chongqing
4:30 Hebei vs Tianjin

Saturday
Field One
3:00 Fujian vs Tianjin
4:30 Heilongjiang vs Hebei
Field Two
3:00 Jiangsu vs Yunnan
4:30 Liaoning vs Chongqing

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