The 2017 International Goalball Grand Slam is coming to Langley City with 20 teams from around the world competing in March of next year.

International Goalball an economic driver for Langley City

Visually impaired athletes will come from around the world to compete

The 2017 International Goalball Grand Slam for visually impaired athletes is coming to Langley City.

The three-day March event will see 20 international teams competing at the Timms Centre and the Douglas Park Rec Centre.

Langley City Councillor Gayle Martin, who is a member of the Tourism Langley board, reported the agreement to rent city facilities for the Grand Slam event at the Monday meeting of council.

Besides the rental revenue, bringing the event to the city will mean an estimated “120 room nights” for hotel accommodation “plus add-ons of athletes and spectators eating and shopping,” Martin said.

It could also mean other goalball events coming to Langley in the future, she said.

The competition is being hosted by the Vancouver Goalball Club, which is offering a $5,000 grand prize for the winning team in each division.

Goalball is a team sport for blind athletes, who compete in teams of three using a ball that has bells embedded in it. Teams alternate throwing or rolling the ball, using the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement.

The 1.25 kilogram (2.8 lbs.) ball has been clocked as fast as 60 km/h at elite-level play.

Eyes are covered so partially sighted players compete on an equal footing with blind competitors. The lines of the court use tape over lengths of twine for players to track by touch.

There are more officials than players on the court, with two referees and four goal judges.

The first international Vancouver Goalball Grand Slam tournament was held in March in Burnaby with 10 men’s teams from across Canada, the USA, Finland, and Australia competing.

Next year’s Grand Slam will accept the first 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams who have paid in full and submitted all necessary registration information.

To join a pool team phone 604-779-3021 or email: vancouvergoalballclub@yahoo.

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