IBSA Goalball World Championships and other major events confirmed
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball has revealed the dates and locations for a series of major competitions taking place over the next three years.
The sport has confirmed that the cycle will remain unchanged heading towards the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, despite the postponement of Tokyo 2020.
Headlining the announcement is the 2022 IBSA Goalball World Championships which will take place in Hangzhou, China, from 3-15 July.
Brazil and Russia are the respective men’s and women’s defending champions, winning the title in Malmo, Sweden, in 2018. Sixteen men’s and 16 women’s team are expected to line-up overall.
After a gap in competitions due to the coronavirus, the 2021 IBSA Goalball European C Championships in Târgu-Mureş, Romania, will kick-start the return of goalball from 11-18 April next year.
Here men’s teams will go for promotion to group B. At the last edition in L’Aquila, Italy, in 2019, Slovenia, Montenegro and Russia went up a division.
At the same time, IBSA Goalball can confirm that it is close to securing a host for the recently postponed European B Championships which will now take place next year. Originally the competition was due to be held in Afula, Israel, from 15-22 October.
The location of the 2021 IBSA Goalball Youth World Championships has also been confirmed. Sao Paulo, Brazil, will stage the event from 27-31 July. The hosts will be looking to defend their girls title won in Penrith, Australia, in 2019.
Overall the event is expected to attract between 8-10 boys and girls teams from 10 countries as they look to show-off their future talent.
Sao Paulo will stage a double-header in 2021 as the Americas Championships will be held in the Brazilian city from 6-13 November.
Dates and locations for the 2021 European A and African Championships will be announced soon. IBSA Goalball will work closely with all organisers to ensure that events are safe for participants and that the quality of competition is high.
Kari Räsänen, chairperson of the IBSA Goalball Committee, said: “After a challenging year so far for athletes and teams, we are delighted to be able to make the first careful steps into the future.
“As the qualification process for Tokyo 2020 was completed before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, we decided that on balance it would be best to keep the following cycle the same. We are therefore excited to announce the dates and locations of some of our biggest competitions taking place over the next three years.
“We hope this will offer countries some stability and reassurance, as well as providing Local Organising Committees the time to prepare and build excitement.”
“My thanks go to all organisers for their interest and energy in staging top quality competitions to mark the return of goalball in the best possible way.
The regional and World Championships join an earlier announcement that goalball will be on the programme for the 2023 IBSA World Games in Birmingham, Great Britain. It will also feature at the 2022 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou.