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. 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.Here's a local news interview with a couple of US players competing this year:
The sport evolved into a competitive game over the next few decades and was a demonstration event at the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto. The sport's first championship was held in 1978 and goalball became a full part of the Paralympics from the 1980 Summer Paralympics in Arnhem onwards.
Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it, into the opponents' goal. They must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 10 minute halves. Blindfolds allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players.
International Blind Sports Federation rules require the field of play to be 18m long by 9m wide (about 19.7 yards by 9.8 yards). Goals span the width of the pitch. The ball weighs 1.25kg (about 2.76 pounds) and has eight holes and noise bells contained within. The ball's circumference is around 76cm (about 30 inches).
And a clip from the 2006 World Championships - US vs Japan:
FP Passport had a blurb on the paralympics the other day as well and 5-a-side soccer caught my eye there - from Wikipedia:
Football 5-a-side is an adaptation of football for athletes with visual impairments including blindness. The sport, governed by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), is played with modified FIFA rules. The field of play is smaller, and is surrounded by boards. Teams are reduced to five players, including the goalkeeper, per team. Teams may also use one guide, who is positioned off the field of play, to assist in directing players. The ball is equipped with a noise-making device to allow players to locate it by sound. Matches consist of two 25-minute halves, with a ten-minute break at half-time.Here's a BBC video on the 5-a-side Worldcup - it's amazing how fast and accurate the play looks:
Football 5-a-side players assigned to one of three sport classes based on their level of visual impairment:
B1 - Totally or almost totally blind; from no light perception up to light perception but inability to recognise the shape of a hand.
B2 - Partially sighted; able to recognise the shape of a hand up to a visual acuity of 2/60 or a visual field of less than 5 degrees.
B3 - Partially sighted; visual acuity from 2/60 to 6/60 or visual field from 5 to 20 degrees
Teams are permitted to use sighted athletes as goalkeepers and guides; sighted goalkeepers cannot have been registered with FIFA for at least five years.