Between the 4th to the 8th October the GB Men’s and Women’s Goalball Squads were in Portugal for the 2016 IBSA Goalball European B Championships. It’s fair to say that it was a historic five days for Great British Goalball which ended with both squads gaining promotion to the highest level of elite goalball competition, as well as winning the Silver and Gold medal respectively.
Mike Reilly, CEO of Goalball UK, said: “We went to Portugal hoping for promotion so to leave with Gold, Silver and three of the highest scoring players in the tournament – Adam Knott, Dan Roper and Laura Perry – is above and beyond what we expected.”
This is especially significant for the Great Britain Men who have never before played in the European A League. It was only last year that they were promoted to the European B League after winning the European C Championships in February of 2015. This this something that very few have done; securing a successive promotion!
Faye Dale, Head Coach of the Men’s squad, added: “There are some incredibly tough teams in the European B League but the squad remained un-fazed throughout, taking out the likes of Russia 15-5.
“If this success is an indicator of what’s to come for GB Goalball, I’d expect to see Goalball UK on the podium in Tokyo.”
The GB Women’s team won the European B Championships in spectacular fashion! Over the course of the 7 games they scored 64 goals yet only conceded 9, winning all 7 seeing them being crowned undefeated champions. In their 4 games building up to the final they won all 4 in the form of a ‘mercy stoppage’. This is when a game is stopped early due to a team being ahead by 10 goals. They will be looking to continue this incredible form on to the European A Championships in September 2017.
Aaron Ford, head coach of the Women’s squad, said: “This is undoubtedly one of the strongest teams we have ever had. To end the tournament undefeated, with several games won before half-time, shows just how confident and skilled the squad has become.
“Having missed out on a place in Rio by a single goal, their achievements in Portugal are a testament to their tenacity and potential.”
The support for Great Britain was overwhelming, throughout the tournament members of the goalball community expressed their support on social media. The event organisers arranged a Live Stream for all the games during the tournament which allowed fans to watch and back GB in all their games, and they did so in numbers! Every time GB played, the ‘Live Stream Viewers’ would rise significantly, in some cases even double. It seemed that no matter where people were, they would make sure to tune in to all the games. Goalball UK discovered that were people watching the streams whilst walking the dog, working out in the gym, on the train, at a hotel in New York, on a beach in Cyprus, and even at a music concert!
Goalball UK would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that took time out of their day to support GB Goalball, it is great to see so many people so passionate about this incredible sport!
For full results Click Here.