Friday, 23 August 2013
Great Britain’s goalball team are hoping to take a step towards the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics at the University of Worcester’s St John’s Sports Centre next month.
The British team will line up alongside eight other nations at the European C Championships – a crucial landmark on the road to Rio 2016 – with only the top three countries progressing to Europe’s B League and keeping their Paralympic hopes alive.
Great Britain’s Adam Knott, who played in last summer’s London Paralympics, believes that having home advantage will provide him and his team-mates with a big psychological boost as they approach the tournament, which will begin with the hosts facing Azerbaijan on Thursday 5th September.
“The facilities at the University of Worcester are excellent,” he explains. “Obviously being on home soil will give us a big boost, and we’re hoping that we’ll get some good support from the people of Worcester.”
Great Britain also take on Italy on the opening day of the tournament, before coming up against Russia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands on day two.
Croatia, Portugal and Greece all lie in wait on days three and four, before the medal matches take place on Sunday afternoon. Having qualified as host nation for London 2012, the British team will be hoping to use that Paralympic experience to their advantage in Worcester.
Adam continues: “Playing at the Paralympics last summer was an incredible experience and we want to make sure we have every chance of getting to Rio.”
“We have to make it through, it is as simple as that. But every nation will have the same focus so it will be a fantastic and hard-fought tournament.”
Goalball was originally devised to help rehabilitate wounded soldiers returning from World War 2. The indoor game features teams of three players, all wearing blindfolds and trying to score by rolling a 1.25kg ball past their opponents. The action is fast and furious, with the ball travelling at up to 60mph.
The event is free for spectators, with the matches taking place between 2pm and 9pm on Thursday 5th September and between 9am and 9pm on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th. The final day of the tournament – Sunday 8th – will see action commence at 8.30am, with the final taking place at 4.30pm.