New Goalball club launches in Stoke Mandeville
Goalball UK in partnership with BucksVision, a local visual impairment charity, launched a new Goalball club on Saturday 3 February in Stoke Mandeville - birthplace of the Paralympic movement. The new club has been set up with support from a local Tesco store and AVDC NHB Micro Funding Scheme.
60 people attended the club's launch event on Saturday 3 February at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, including six elite players from the Great Britain Goalball Team - Caleb Nanevie, Kali Holder, Sarah Leiter, Dan Roper, Laura Perry and Matt Loftus. The GB players provided a great showcase of the game and helped newcomers to get involved.
Goalball was originally developed to rehabilitate soldiers after World War II and is the only team sport invented specifically for visually impaired people. Played with raised markings on the floor, blindfolds are used to ensure an even playing field as players location the ball through sound.
In the past four years alone, participation has increased by 425 per cent.
Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball UK, said:
“It’s a real pleasure to be see this latest club launch in a location that is so symbolic of the progress that has been in made in disability sport.
“Like the patients of Sir Ludwig Guttmann, the first goalball players were recovering veterans and the sport was developed according to their needs.
“All too often, visually impaired people can struggle to find challenging and enjoyable activities. This can be especially upsetting for those who lose their sight later in life. For example, Laura Perry was a keen rugby and cricket player before becoming visually impaired aged 18. She now plays Goalball internationally with the Women’s GB Team.”
Anne Mills, Fundraising Manager at BucksVision, added:
“Goalball gives people with a visual impairment the chance to build their confidence and excel at a sport. Not only that, it offers a ready-made community of players and their families who together make each team a success.
“Unlike many sports, Goalball offers players the opportunity to progress from amateur to professional player in a remarkably short space of time. The speed with which talented players can be identified and progress through the ranks makes it entirely likely that a potential Tokyo 2020 team would include a Bucks player yet to even pick up a Goalball.
“Whether you aspire to being a Paralympian, or simply want to enjoy yourself and join a friendly and supportive group, Goalball is an ideal choice.”
New Goalball club sessions will run from 8am-1.30pm on the following dates throughout the year, at the Cazenove Sports Hall at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury:
- 7 April 2018
- 2 June 2018
- 30 June 2018
- 14 July 2018
- 18 August 2018
- 1 September 2018
- 6 October 2018
- 15 December 2018
- 19 January 2019
Anyone interested in having a go at Goalball, or want to find out more about the club - please contact BucksVision on 01296 487566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.