It will be an important year for goalball as the men’s and women’s teams aim to secure a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The winner of each of the Regional Championships plus the top two-ranked teams at the Paralympic Qualification Tournament, will travel to Japan next year.
Parapan American Games
Lima 2019 will act as a qualifier for the Americas teams between 23 August and 1 September.
With the Brazilian men’s and women’s teams already qualified for Tokyo 2020 due to their performance at the 2018 World Championships, it is up to the rest to claim the remaining slot.
The USA and Canada appear as strong favourites although Argentina have shown recent improvement and will be hoping to cause an upset.
Rostock, Germany, will stage the competition from 5-14 October. The hosts and Belgium have already qualified for the men’s event via their Worlds performances. Rio 2016 gold medallists Lithuania, Finland, Turkey and Sweden are likely to fight for the other slot.
Among the women, Turkey are the only ones with a ticket confirmation for Tokyo. It will be a tough battle to see who joins them from Europe, with Ukraine and Israel starting as the favourites.
The competition will be held in Tokyo from 2-11 December.
Hosts Japan, who won Paralympic gold in 2012, are of the contenders in the women’s event. But they need to perform at their very best to beat the always strong Chinese side.
Beijing 2008 champions China are, on paper, the best male team.
More slots available
Algeria have been the dominant force in Africa, with the Regional Championships’ date and place still to be determined.
Another way to qualify for Tokyo 2020 is through the Paralympic Qualification Tournament in Fort Wayne, USA, between 30 June and 10 July. This event offers two slots for the men’s and two for the women’s events.