We’re continuing our ‘A year in goalball’ series with part 2, to look back on the positive aspects of 2021! Here is April, May and June!

In April, Aaron Ford was accepted onto UK Sport’s High-Performance Coach Apprenticeship and Goalball UK supported the launch of the Youth Sport Trust Active Recovery Hub.

As Covid restrictions started to ease, a number of clubs returned to training and, after extensive consultation with clubs, the new Competition Structure for 2021/22 was announced including an Elite Super League.

The GB Men headed to Israel for a joint training camp in preparation for the European Championships in Finland which started on June 3rd with 2 fantastic wins over Sweden and Montenegro. The team eventually finished 6th overall so retained their position in the B League and Dan Roper was the tournament’s second highest goalscorer.

GB Men's team virtual group photo, with an individual photo of each team member shown.

Back home, Fen Tigers starred on Channel 5’s ‘Win your wish list’ and Goalball UK announced an exciting new kit partnership with hummel and held a ‘re-engagement’ event in Cambridge, with 4 clubs attending, to test the Covid protocols ahead of the new season.

The #GetMeganBackOnTheTeam fundraising campaign was also launched on behalf of GB Women’s player Megan Smithson- Booth who needed career saving hip surgery. The #GoalballFamily were amazing in their support, exceeding the fundraising target as well as sending messages of support.

Megan Smithson Booth thank you letter to people who donated towards the campaign to #GetMeganBackOnTheTeam.

We caught up with Megan to find out how her surgery went and what her ambitions are for 2022:

“The surgery was really successful. The first few months were pretty difficult with managing pain and non-weight bearing but I’m now five months post op and I couldn’t be anymore happier with my new hip. The surgery has already made a huge difference to my everyday life, and I can’t wait to carry on pushing with my recovery and seeing what I can do.

I started full weight bearing a month ago, so my rehab has mainly been working on gaining full range of movement in my hip, strengthening the muscles and improving my walking. I’ve been working hard with my physio and my surgeon can’t believe how quickly I’ve been progressing. I’ve been doing hydrotherapy, resistance bands, and balance work and in the next phase of my rehab I will be going on an anti-gravity treadmill, which I’m really excited to start.

My initial ambition for 2022 is to start the return to running programme. Once I’ve achieved this, I can then begin the return to sport plan which means getting back playing goalball again. My goal is to be back on court by the end of 2022, which will be amazing.”

Megan Smithson-Booth on the left and Meme Robertson on the right in their red GB jerseys in front of a goalball goal.

The New Year is only 3 days away! Want to know what we’re looking back on July, August and September? Part 3 tomorrow!