World Goalball Day to take place on 12 September
The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball has announced that the first World Goalball Day will take place on 12 September 2021, aiming to ride the wave of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
In 2021 goalball is celebrating an incredible 75 years since it was pioneered by Austrian Hans Lorenzen and Germany’s Sepp Reindle in 1946. The pair developed the game to help with the rehabilitation of World War II veterans.
The sport went on to debut at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games – becoming the first team sport specifically for athletes with vision impairments to feature on the programme. Both men’s and women’s team now compete at the Paralympics and ten of each from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania will play for the title at Tokyo 2020.
Every exhilarating throw, block and goal from the Games will be broadcast live between 25 August, when the first group games get underway, and 4 September when the medal matches take place.
World Goalball Day aims to capitalise on the new interest that it is hoped Tokyo 2020 will generate, as well as bring together the whole goalball community to celebrate 75 years of the game.
Jannie Hammershoi, IBSA President, said: “As a former goalball player and Paralympian myself, I am very excited by the first World Goalball Day, which also comes in the same year that we celebrate the 40th anniversary of IBSA.
“Goalball has added so much to my life and that of many others, but it is still a relatively unknown sport in some countries. Unlike most other Paralympic sports it has no sighted or Olympic equivalent, so we have to work extra hard to ensure we take every opportunity to show how wonderful and unique it is, and how easy it is to get started.
“We are encouraging the public, players, teams and clubs from all over the world to join with us on 12 September – one week after the closing of Tokyo 2020 – to get involved and help create a real buzz around the sport to continue what we expect to be the success of the Paralympics.”
IBSA Goalball has joined forces with Goalball UK on the activities for World Goalball Day.
These will centre around online and social media activities, following the success of the first World Blind Sports Day on 24 April 2021.
“We are really excited to be involved with the inaugural World Goalball Day,” Mark Winder, Chief Executive Officer of Goalball UK, said. “With the sport commemorating its landmark 75th anniversary, it feels like the perfect time to launch this celebration of all thing’s goalball.
“We hope to encourage as many clubs and players as possible to shout from the rooftops on 12 September to spread awareness of this truly transformational sport.”
The public can try goalball for themselves at home, alone or with friends, simply by using a ball and creating a goal. Blindfolds can also be used to give an authentic experience. Any pictures and videos can then be used to post their experiences on social media by using #WorldGoalballDay.
The goalball community can join in by sharing what goalball means to them and any other activities, using the same hashtag.
IBSA Goalball will share updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout 12 September.
As well as 75 years of goalball, IBSA is also celebrating 40 years since it was established at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on 24 April 1981.
As well as the first World Blind Sports Day, after the Paralympic Games, IBSA will launch a series of online seminars for coaches, referees and potential athletes who might be interested in finding out more about Paralympic sports like goalball, blind football and judo as well as showdown, powerlifting, chess and ninepin and tenpin bowling.
In addition a new coaching platform and ‘find a sport for me’ tool will be launched towards the end of the year, and a list of the most influential people from the past 40 years will be published.
Rounding off the celebrations will be the IBSA General Assembly in Jordan, where the membership will gather from 9-12 October.