The groups for the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball World Championships have been announced.
The 16 male teams were divided into two groups of eight, with the best four from each qualifying for the quarter finals. Defending champions Brazil were drawn into a tough-looking Group B with Rio 2016 silver medallists USA, Canada, Germany, Iran, Egypt, Czech Republic and Japan.
Group A will see Paralympic and European gold medallists Lithuania facing African champions Algeria, Asian champions China, Belgium, Argentina, hosts Sweden, Australia and Turkey.
Two groups of six teams each make up the women’s competition, with the best four from each advancing into the quarter-finals. Rio 2016 gold medallists Turkey will be joined by European champions Russia*, Asian champions Japan, Australia, Israel and Sweden in Group C.
Group D will pit reigning world champions USA against Rio 2016 silver medallists China, African champions Algeria, Americas champions Canada, Greece and Brazil.
The 2018 World Championships will take place in Malmo, Sweden, between 3 and 8 June.
More information is available on the World Championships’ website.
*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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