Goalball in 2016: 5 questions to be answered

With a new year and the Rio 2016 Games approaching, here are some of the big goalball questions. 13 Jan 2016
Finland's Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala block the ball during their gold-medal match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. After winning Paralympic gold, the Finnish squad will now host the 2014 World Championships.

Finland's Petri Posio and Erkki Miinala block the ball during their gold-medal match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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By Rosanna Haroutounian | For the IPC

1. Who will make up the teams heading to Rio 2016?

While we now have a clear picture of which countries will be vying for gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games, some have yet to reveal which players will be representing them. A look at the Finnish men’s team and USA’s women’s team tells us a combination of new and veteran players who will likely to make up their respective teams. What else will return, and who will be the newcomers for other teams?

2. Can Finland’s men’s team repeat their gold-medal performance from London 2012?

Finland blew by Brazil 8-1 in the finals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. However, Brazil turned the tables at the 2014 World Championships, downing Finland 9-1. The defending Paralympic champions also came in runner-up at the 2015 European Championships, making the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Games up for grabs.

3. Who are the top Paralympic competitors?

The Brazilian men, the US women and Chinese men are among the top in their respective regions. Turkey’s men’s and women’s team was particularly strong in 2015, with both teams winning the 2015 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men and Women A. Finland’s men’s and Israel’s women’s teams also demonstrated that they are strong competitors this year. But there have been mixed results in the last few years, making predictions at Rio 2016 challenging.

4. Who will rise in the IBSA Goalball European Championships – B?

Maia, Portugal, was selected as the site for the 2016 IBSA Goalball European B Championships. The tournament is tentatively scheduled to run 2-9 October. The winners of this competition have the opportunity to advance and compete in the A-division championships in 2017.

5. Parantee Games Goalball Tournament, a final preparation for Rio 2016?

The 2015 Parantee Games Goalball Tournament was cancelled due to an insufficient number of registrations. The tournament’s organisers are planning to hold 2016’s tournament from 10-12 June. Teams were invited to apply to participate in October. This tournament is being touted as an opportunity for teams to prepare for the Paralympics.