Goalball in Beds: picture gallery

A FAST-paced ball game for the visually impaired is appealing to the town for help to ensure it can train in Bedford in the run-up to the Paralympics.

Friday, 14th January 2011, 4:09 pm

The national squad for goalball, which is a game for the visually impaired that takes away players’ sight so everyone plays on an equal footing, was filmed by Channel 4 for its Paralympic programme on Saturday, and on Sunday the Mayor of Bedford watched the team in action.

To view Tracey Goodacre’s pictures of the team in our gallery, click on the link on the right.

After champion success in 2009 in Munich for the women’s team, it is hoping to complete in the Paralympics next year, but is appealing for help from the town to ensure players can continue to train in Bedford.

Head coach Tabo Huntley said: “We have a really good deal with the University of Bedfordshire and we really want to continue training in Bedford in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, but we need the funding for us to do that.

“We are a national squad and goalball is unfortunately one of the lowest funded sports, so we will go wherever is cheaper. So in order for us to stay we are really looking for sponsors to get behind us financially.”

The game sees participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that weighs a hefty 1.25kg and 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.

Mr Hodgson, who has been setting up an initiative to support a goalball squad from the Ivory Coast, said: “I think it’s great that we have the national squad here in Bedford and I think we should be doing all we can to ensure that they can train here in the run-up to the games.

“We have a local Olympic group BOOST set up, and I am really keen to work with athletes wanting to compete in London.”

Anyone who thinks they would like to get involved or can offer financial help can email [email protected] or for more details on the sport go to www.goalballuk.com