Sports week: 10 things to know about goalball

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Goalball is one of the oldest para sports, forged from the flames of World War II. Today, that historic game has evolved into a dynamic and rapid exchange of speed, precision and skill.

1. The basic principle of goalball is to score goals by throwing a 1.25 kg ball quickly and accurately and defending the opposing team’s shots. Each team has three players on the pitch who can use their whole body to stop the ball, throwing themselves to the ground in the correct position. The floor is unpadded and there is no face protection other than sunglasses, which makes goalball a difficult sport both mentally and physically. To make it even more difficult, the goals span the width of the court by 9m.

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2. In 2021, goalball celebrates its 75th anniversary since its inception. Austrian Hans Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle came up with the basic concept of the game in 1946 as a way to rehabilitate blind WWII veterans.

3. After a successful demonstration in Heidelberg 1972, goalball was inducted into the Paralympic program in Toronto 1976; the premier team sport for athletes with visual impairments. The Austrians, perhaps rightly, took the title of young girl. The United States won the first women’s title eight years later in New York 1984.

4. The ball contains several bells so that players can locate its position. At the Paralympic Games, the ball was measured crossing the court at 60 km / h.

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5. Growth during the sport’s first decades was centered in Europe, where the first regional championships were held in 1983. However, since the start of the new millennium, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa have all held their own. own official championships. A World Youth Championship has also been held every two years since 2005.

6. Goalball is a growing club game with many players competing each week in national and international leagues, such as the Champions League of the European Association of Goalball Clubs.

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7. The variety of ways a goalball can be thrown has led to the evolution of some creative deliveries over the years. These include the “Brazilian Special” – back through the legs – and variations of the “discus,” where a player rotates their body like a discus thrower.

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8. The American women are the most successful team in the history of the sport with six Paralympic medals and eight world championship medals to their name. The United States is the most decorated overall at the Paralympic Games with 12 medals shared between men and women, including three gold.

9. Players wear sunglasses to ensure a level playing field where completely blind athletes (B1) compete with and against those with less severe but still acute visual impairments (B2 and B3). In addition, the goalball field is marked with raised lines so that players can feel their location at all times.

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ten. To ensure that players can hear everything that is happening and properly absorb the intensity of the atmosphere, spectators must be completely silent during the game.


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