Image shows Sarah Leiter smiling in from of a SportsAid advertising boardEach week we are digging through the Goalball UK archives to look back at some of our favourite memories from the sport from years gone by.

To celebrate SportsAid Week 2020, we’re taking a look back at the goalball athletes that have been supported by the leading charity that helps the nation’s brightest prospects to achieve their ambitions.

Whether it is through ‘Backing the Best’ or ‘TASS’ (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme), SportsAid have recognised the potential of many incredibly talented goalball athletes over the years.

These schemes have often been vital for aspiring top-level goalballers to support their progression and development, but they have also presented a number of other exciting opportunities. So here are some of our favourite moments from our athletes supported by SportsAid in recent years:

Back in 2017, there were five goalball athletes, from a total of 95 lucky athletes, who were enrolled on SportsAid’s Backing the Best programme. Dan Roper and Laura Perry received continuation funding for the opportunity, while Caleb Nanevie, Filmon Eyassu and Matt Loftus were involved for the first time.

The athletes on the Backing the Best programme had a chance to listen to insight and guidance from some big names in British sport. They attended workshops and heard from the likes of Olympic superstar Becky Adlington and Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi about topics such as lifestyle management, nutrition and dealing with the media.

Fast forward a year and goalballer Liam Hall was given a unique opportunity to be part of a film created by SportsAid. Liam, who was supported by TASS, was part of a campaign that showcased the value of pursuing full-time education alongside performance sport. As many of the goalball family know, off the court Liam is talented drummer, you can check him out in action in the following video:

In 2019, the entire goalball family was rooting for Antonia Bunyan as she was nominated for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award. Antonia, who is supported through Backing the Best, joined illustrious company as one of ten nominees selected from around 1,000 rising British stars from more than 60 different sports.  The award has the likes of Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, and five-time Paralympic para-equestrian champion Natasha Baker among the panel of judges selecting the nominees.

Although Antonia didn’t win the big prize of the night, becoming a finalist was a monumental moment for a goalball athlete at such a celebrated ceremony. You can read more about Antonia’s journey through the following link, Antonia Bunyan shortlisted for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award.

SportsAid has often used their platform to celebrate the achievements of goalball athletes and earlier this year was no exception. TASS supported athlete Sarah Leiter was put in the limelight as she gave an in-depth and fascinating insight into her goalball aspirations, while juggling this with her role as a junior doctor at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

This interview can be found over on the SportsAid website via the following link, Sarah Leiter: “I’m driven to spread the word about goalball”

We hope that the goalball family joins us in celebrating the amazing opportunities that SportsAid has provided for our athletes other the years. If you have also been supported by SportsAid, please share your story on social media and how it has helped you develop your game!

To check out the rest of our ‘Digging through the Goalball UK archives’ series please use the following link, Goalball UK – Digging through the archives.