2004 Nationals Announcement

14 November 2004

New Zealand Goalball Championships 19 - 21 November 2004

The New Zealand Goalball championships (www.Goalball-nz.org) will be held this coming weekend from 19th to 21st November at the Onehunga Working Men's Club in Auckland. 

This will be the largest competition for this Paralympic sport for New Zealand with over 12 teams competing in the Women's and Open sections, and including two invitation teams from Australia.

Goalball is a Paralympic Sport played at international levels by blind and visually impaired competitors on a volleyball sized court with two teams of three rolling a ball as fast as possible from one end of the court to the other, whilst the defending team dives and attempts to stop the ball (travelling at speeds over 60kmh) from entering their court width goal. After defending they then return the ball in the same manner.This is the only true hand ear coordination game in the world where all competitors play blind folded and rely purely on their hearing and the markings on the court itself.

"This will be our largest nationals to date" said Darryl Sherwood, Publicity Officer for Goalball New Zealand (GNZ). "We have seen amazing growth in the game over the last 3 years and with a number of Australians coming over to compete we are looking forward to a full on and closely fought series of games." 

New Zealand is not currently ranked on the world scale at this stage, with only a couple of international games to date. "The game is very big around the world, played in over 70 countries, only 12 being able to attend the Paralympics" said Darryl. "Our long term goal is to make it to the Paralympics, and these nationals are another step towards this."

There have been some rumours around the Goalball community both here and Australia over the last month as there is a strong chance that the game will be a demonstration sport at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. "If this was to happen we would all be thrilled" said Darryl. "Raising the profile of the best and most equal game blind and visually impaired people can play on an equal footing with everyone else has to be a good thing, and we need to raise the profile of this game if we one day want to take on the world at the Paralympics."

Further information

Further information about this release or Goalball itself can be found by contacting the Goalball New Zealand Publicity Officer - Darryl Sherwood on 03-353-3895 w/h, 03-366-0013 a/h, email goalball@paradise.net.nz, or by visiting www.goalball-nz.org.