Goalball: 5 key moments from 2017

We look back on the most memorable moments of the sport this year 29 Dec 2017
a female goalball player stands by the goal

Jen Armbruster competed in seven Paralympic Games for the United States

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1. Turkish women’s team wins 2017 Paralympic Sport Award

The Best Team accolade went to Turkey’s women’s goalball team after winning gold in their first appearance at a Paralympic Games in Rio, where they upset favourites China in the final. “Thanks to this success achieved by athletes with visual impairments, they feel that they are valued and there is no discrimination and I think this is an honour and pride for them,” said Turkish coach Gokhan Ince.

2. Australia make history at Youth Worlds

Australia's first major goalball international title was claimed by their youth women’s squad at the Youth World Championships in Hungary, after beating Russia* 9-6 in the final. Brazil completed the top-three.

3. A legend retires

Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jen Armbruster announced his retirement from the sport in September. “It has been an honour and privilege to represent the United States of America at seven Paralympic Summer Games and a number of World Championships and Pan Am Games,” he said.

4. Continental champions crowned

The Lithuanian men’s and Russian women’s teams won the European Championships in Lahti, Finland. Both the male and female Algerian teams topped the podium at the African Championships in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. At the American Championships, Canada left victorious from the women’s competition, while Brazil claimed the men’s title.

5. Goalball growing in Africa

A third series of workshops in Africa was conducted in Kampala, Uganda, with 72 attendants from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, DRC Congo, South Sudan, Burundi and the host country. This project aims to introduce the sport to new countries and provide additional education to improve existing goalball programmes.

*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.

On 6 September 2017, the IPC put in place a limited interim measure for athletes to compete as neutrals in qualification events across four World Para sports for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. These sports are alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country and snowboard.

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