Goalball is one of the two Paralympic sports that do not have an Olympic counterpart, the other being boccia. This team sport was designed specifically for partially sighted and blind athletes, who are not classified by impairment. Goalball was created in 1946 for WWII veterans who had lost their sight. Men’s goalball made its Paralympic debut 30 years later, whereas women’s goalball first appeared at the 1984 Games.
Alternating between attack and defence, goalball players use their entire body to block powerful shots from their opponents. Their exciting performance makes matches particularly captivating to watch.
Brief overview of the rules
Goalball is played by two teams of three players on the same size court as in volleyball (18m long and 9m wide). The attacking team tries to score by rolling a ball containing internal bells at speed along the floor towards the opposite goal defended by their opponents. Tactile markings help players determine where they are. The ball must bounce at least once in the thrower’s landing area for the shot to be counted. Players lie down in front of their own goal to block the ball. They take turns attacking and defending.
Goalball is an intense sport and each game is divided into two 12-minute halves. Much like in blind football, spectators must remain silent during play so that players can hear the ball.
International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA): www.ibsasport.org
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