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A new world

Goalball

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A sport that was devised to help rehabilitate war veterans, goalball is played by visually impaired athletes, who use blackout masks to ensure equality. Part of the Games since Toronto 1976, in Rio 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams will compete for glory.
Spectator's Guide - Goalball
  • Goalball

About

About

Aim of the game

Two teams of three players wearing eyeshades try to score points by throwing a ball with bells inside at high speed into their opponent's goal at the other end of the court

Why should you watch this?

Agility, skill and courage are essential as athletes alternate between offensive and defensive moves, throwing or blocking a ball that weighs 1.25kg and reaches speeds of nearly 100kph

International Federation

Paralympic debut

Toronto 1976

Rules
  • High ball

    High ball

    A penalty is awarded if the throwing player releases the ball and it hits the court beyond their high-ball line

  • Long ball

    Long ball

    A penalty is awarded if the ball does not make contact at least once inside the middle area before it reaches the opponent's side

  • Short ball

    Short ball

    A penalty is awarded if the force of the thrown ball is insufficient to reach the opponent's defensive area

Impress your friends

  • Goalball was developed in Germany in 1946 by Austrian Hanz Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle as an activity for the rehabilitation of war veterans

    Goalball was developed in Germany in 1946 by Austrian Hanz Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle as an activity for the rehabilitation of war veterans

  • Goalball made its international debut as a demonstration sport during the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games

    Goalball made its international debut as a demonstration sport during the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games

  • It became a Paralympic Games medal event for men at Toronto 1976, with the women's event being added for the New York / Stoke Mandeville 1984 Games

    It became a Paralympic Games medal event for men at Toronto 1976, with the women's event being added for the New York / Stoke Mandeville 1984 Games

  • The Chinese men's team made its Paralympic Games debut at Beijing 2008, where they eliminated favourites Finland and the USA, before beating Lithuania in the final

    The Chinese men's team made its Paralympic Games debut at Beijing 2008, where they eliminated favourites Finland and the USA, before beating Lithuania in the final

  • Also at Beijing 2008, the USA women's team beat China 6-5 in a memorable final to take their second Paralympic gold medal, 24 years after their first title

    Also at Beijing 2008, the USA women's team beat China 6-5 in a memorable final to take their second Paralympic gold medal, 24 years after their first title

  • Brazil won the men's 2014 world championship and had the tournament's top two goal-scorers: Leomon Silva (51) and Romario Marques (30)

    Brazil won the men's 2014 world championship and had the tournament's top two goal-scorers: Leomon Silva (51) and Romario Marques (30)

  • In the women's 2014 world championship, favourites USA beat Russia 3-0 in the final to make up for failing to win a medal at London 2012

    In the women's 2014 world championship, favourites USA beat Russia 3-0 in the final to make up for failing to win a medal at London 2012

  • As goalball players need to hear both the ball and the referee, spectators must be quiet, except during the interval and, of course, when a goal is scored

    As goalball players need to hear both the ball and the referee, spectators must be quiet, except during the interval and, of course, when a goal is scored

  • Goalball is a rarity in that it was designed specifically for visually impaired athletes rather than being adapted from an Olympic sport

    Goalball is a rarity in that it was designed specifically for visually impaired athletes rather than being adapted from an Olympic sport

Scoring

A game consists of two 12-minute halves, with a three-minute half-time. The team with the most goals at the end of the match wins. If a team opens up a lead of 10 goals the match ends immediately.

Not allowed

Each team consists of three players who attack and defend. Teams are not allowed inside their opponents' area.

Attack

Each team has 10 seconds to conclude the offensive action – when a player throws the ball in the direction of their opponents' goal, it must make contact with the ground in their own and the middle part of the court.

Defence

Defenders can lie on the floor and try to block the entire goal, within a restricted area defined by tactile lines.

Penalty

If a team commits any infraction that results in a penalty situation, a single defends the entire goal for one throw.

Officials

In addition to refereeing, officials also narrate the game, using verbal commands to describe to the players what is happening.

Stats

Top Medalists

Men
USA
USA
1 2 1 4
FIN
FIN
2 1 0 3
DEN
DEN
2 0 1 3
Women
USA
USA
2 2 1 5
CAN
CAN
2 1 2 5
DEN
DEN
1 1 2 4