U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball Teams to Compete at 2018 World Championships
May 30th, 2018
U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball Teams to Compete at World Championships in Hopes of Qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
FORT WAYNE, IN (May 29, 2018) – U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball Teams—both of which train at the Goalball Center of Excellence at Turnstone Center in Fort Wayne, IN—will compete in their first chance at qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games next week at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Malmö, Sweden.
The U.S. Women are defending champions and have earned medals at eight World Championships since their debut at the 1982 World Championships in Indianapolis where they won gold. The U.S. Men have five World Championship podium finishes, including a bronze medal from the 2014 World Championships, and are hoping to add another to their collection.
A podium finish for both teams would mean becoming one of the first nations to qualify to compete in the sport at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. It was at the 2014 World Championships that both teams qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with podium finishes.
Teams, which were announced April 24, include eight Paralympians who helped their teams medal in Rio de Janeiro. Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.) is one of the Paralympians competing who was also on the 2014 Worlds Team. “We’re the most prepared we’ve ever been as an entire team,” said Mason. “Training together on the court [daily] has allowed us to become a strong, cohesive unit.”
“I love the week before a major competition,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach Jake Czechowski, “because after two years of training (since Rio), the team is as sharp as it can possibly be. The athletes are hungry, excited and ready to take on the best goalball teams in the world. The other nations have also been working incredibly hard and we will no doubt see the very best performance of which they are capable. The three teams standing on the podium on June 8th will have achieved something very special.”
Though the U.S. Men are also excited about competing in their first opportunity to qualify for the next Paralympic Summer Games, their approach is calm. “We’re all eager to get to Sweden and get started,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Matthew Boyle. “I know all of the guys are excited to go, but the energy is very calm and reserved in these days leading up to the competition.”
Sixteen men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will compete in the tournament. Each division has been divided in half to create two pools of teams in each division. In January, nations were drawn by the local organizing committee for each of the pools. The U.S. Men will enter round robin play in Group B which also includes Brazil, Canada, Germany, Iran, Egypt, Czech Republic and Japan. The U.S. Women will compete against China, Algeria, Canada, Greece and Brazil in Group D.
Round robin play begins Sunday, June 3, with U.S. Men facing Brazil at 3:00 a.m. ETand Germany at 12:20 p.m. ET. U.S. On the first day of competition, U.S. Women will play Greece at 11:00 a.m. ET. Games will be livestreamed on the event’s Facebook page. A full tournament schedule can be found on the event website (http://www.wcg18.se/).
About Turnstone: Now in its 75th year of service, Turnstone’s mission is to empower people with disabilities to achieve their highest potential by providing one of the most comprehensive offerings of services and programs to people with disabilities and their families under one roof in the United States. Thanks to generous support and compassionate staff, Turnstone’s legacy of advocacy and innovation continues to contribute to a world that accepts and values people based on their abilities. This legacy now includes the privilege of functioning as the home training facility for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Goalball Teams and the goalball resident program through a partnership with the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). www.turnstone.org | Twitter: @TurnstoneCenter | Facebook: Turnstone Center of Children and Adults with Disabilities | Instagram: @TurnstoneCenter
ABOUT UNITED STATES ASSOCIATION OF BLIND ATHLETES (USABA)
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. In addition to providing grassroot and development opportunities in multiple sports, USABA serves as the high performance management organization for the Paralympic sport of goalball in the U.S. Through a partnership with Turnstone Center, USABA established the first-ever long-term goalball resident program in the country where members of U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball National Teams train full-time. USABA’s mission: to empower Americans who are blind and visually impaired to experience life-changing opportunities in sports, recreation and physical activity, thereby educating and inspiring the nation. www.usaba.org | Twitter: @USABA | Facebook: United States Association of Blind Athletes