The history of Goalball goes back to post World War II when the game was created in 1946 to help rehabilitate war veterans who has experienced visual impairment from injuries. During the next two decades goalball became much more known, to the point that it developed into a competitive sport. The breakthrough came when it was selected as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Summer Paralympics in Heidelberg, West Germany. Four years later goalball became an official Paralympic Games sport to form part of the program of the Toronto Summer Paralympics. The sport progressed further by having its own world championship in Austria in 1978.  

A match of goalball is made up of two teams of three players each. The ball is specifically designed with bells embedded in it. The objective is to throw it into the opponent's net. Players are not allowed to kick the ball. As goalball is especially designed for visually impaired players using ear-hand coordination, there is no identical version of the game for able-bodied athletes. It can be played by anyone, but all players are equally blindfolded. The location is usually an indoor volleyball court with a match divided into 12-minute halves. The three players in each team are usually position near their own goal area during defense and attack.  

The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) is the governing body responsible for several sports designed for visually impaired athletes. IBSA was founded in Paris in 1981 as a non-profit organisation. The main objective of the federation is to create the platform that provides partially sighted athletes access to international competitions, in addition to encouraging many more each season to participate and take up goalball and other sports. The showcase event is the IBSA World Championships and Games that feature every four years. The first world championship was hosted by Madrid in 1998. IBSA is currently based in Bonn, Germany.

International Blind Sports Federation

Photo: A.Ricardo (Shutterstock)

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