Saturday, 28 May 2011

My First Experience of Goalball!

In 2012 London will host the Olympic, and Paralympic games. It is an opportunity for the world to all celebrate sports and athletic achievements. So thinking about this I decided to look into what Paralympic sports are out there for Visually Impaired people. I didn't have to look that far. My Facebook news feed in fact lead me in the right direction telling me that some of my friends - who have a VI - had liked 'goalball'.


So onwards to wikipedia, and here is the definition:
'Goalball is a team sport designed for blind athletes. It was devised by Hanz Lorenzen (Austria), and Sepp Reindle (Germany), in 1946 in an effort to help in the rehabilitation of visually impaired World War II veterans.[1] The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), responsible for fifteen sports for the blind and partially sighted in total, is the governing body for this sport.' - Source wikipedia.




'Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents' goal.[2] They must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 12 minute halves (formerly 10 minute halves).[2] Blindfolds allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players.' - Source Wikipedia.
So Goalball sounds a bit:
Mad
Fun
Dangerous
Unlike other Paralympic sports goalball dosen't have very long, complicated and confusing classification systems. If you have a visual impairment you can do it in the paralympics! Where as with equestrian and other sports classification is split into varying levels of disability: 

Grade I is for more severely physically impaired jumpers, Grade III is for the least physically impaired jumpers, Grade IV is for the Visually Impaired jumpers. - Source http://www.bpsja.co.uk/classification.html

So I went off to give it a try! The 'Hull Outreach Goalball Team' were kind enough to let me join in and I got going! It is a very hard sport to play but I found that my navigation with a blind fold on is surprisingly good so that was very reassuring! The ball travels at amazing speed but luckily the other players were kind enough to be nice to me! I have had a bash with the ball on the nose but I am still good and well! 
I went to sessions for a few weeks but I am currently having a break due to other commitments, a shame really as I do enjoy it. I think goalball is a very good game for anyone with a visual impairment to get involved in and would fully recommend it.
For more information about goalball go to: 









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