For those unfamiliar to goalball, it’s a team sport designed specifically for blind and visually impaired athletes.
Athletes compete in teams and try to throw a ball that has bells inside it into the opponents’ goal.
Teams alternate throwing the ball from one end of the court to the other, using their bodies to block the ball from going in their net- using the sound of the bell to track its position and movement. Games consist of two 12 minute halves.
Created originally as a means of assisting rehabilitation of visually impaired WWII veterans, goalball is now played internationally and has been an official Paralympic sport since 1980.
This weekend’s tournament featuring teams from B.C., Alberta, and California received a crucial financial boost from the City of Langley.
As part of the Financial Plan Bylaw, City Council awards community grants to non-profits groups or organizations. Community grants are typically awarded twice a year; the first intake of 2017 included the Vancouver Goalball Club, a member of BC Blind Sports.
Hence this grand slam, that will be held at the Timms facility (20399 Douglas Crescent) over two days.
The City of Langley along with BC Blind Sports and Accessible Media Inc. are sponsoring the event and teams will vie for the grand slam title as well as the $5,000 grand prize.
The four entries are B.C. 1, B.C. 2, California Crown, and Young Guns.
Before the bronze and gold medal games on Saturday, Timms visitors can attend the public “Try It Out” event from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Spectators are welcome and encouraged, as admission is free.
The full schedule can be found by clicking here.
The tournament opens Friday with two B.C. teams facing each other at 3 p.m. and games continuing until 6 p.m.
Action continues Saturday starting at 9 a.m. and culminates with the bronze medal game at 3:50 p.m. and gold medal match-up at 4:45 p.m.
“The City of Langley is very pleased to be hosting the second International Vancouver Goalball Grand Slam at Timms Community Centre, bringing athletes from across the globe to experience what our beautiful City has to offer,” City of Langley recreation supervisor, Christine Daum said.
“We are also very excited to introduce this fun, inclusive sport to our community and give our residents along with visitors from all over the lower mainland the opportunity to learn about this exciting sport and see world-class athletes in action.”
City Mayor Ted Schaffer noted that the Vancouver Goalball Club is among the non-profits and organizations that has received 51 community grants from the municipality.
“On behalf of Council, we are happy to bring new, exciting and inclusive sports to Timms Community Centre,” Schaffer said.
“The second submission intake deadline for the 2017 Community Grant Applications is June 30, 2017, and we hope more local community-oriented groups take advantage of this Langley City opportunity like Vancouver Goalball Club has,” he added.