GB Women huddle together for a group hug after a game whilst the crowd watches on from the stands

It has only been a couple of weeks since the closing ceremony of the IBSA World Games 2023 but we are still smiling wide from a fantastic home Games experience! 

Our GB Men and Women’s squads got to play against the best teams in the World, including several Tokyo 2020 medallists. GB Women finished seventh overall retaining their IBSA World Championships 2022 placing. For GB Men it was the first time competing at this level and they finished thirteenth overall. 

The Games were about so much more than results tables for Goalball UK though. They were the biggest opportunity since the London 2012 Paralympics to highlight blind sport to a large audience. Our hope is that many people who experienced the Games whether in person or on the live streams are inspired to get active.  

As the blind and partially sighted community are the least active of all the disability groups, we want people to know you can join in at any level. You don’t even have to play! From playing, coaching, volunteering, officiating to setting up a club there is a place for you in our incredible community. 

For our GB squads the Games got off to a winning start for GB with both teams securing victories in their first games on day one! A tough few days in the group rounds followed, but our players persevered, rallied by a supportive home crowd who brought the noise, flags and cheers every single day.

Fans in the stands cheer as a goal is scored

IBSA World Games 2023 credit Richard Hall

The Men’s tournament concluded with the group rounds, but the Women continued through to the quarter finals where they met Brazil and lost out narrowly 2-3. Brazil went on to win the bronze medal. The team had the 5th-8th place play-off games to contest which started with defeat against Israel, however, this was followed by their final game against Germany in which they delivered an excellent performance to win 8-2 and confirm their 7th place overall. 

Gary Fraser, High Performance Lead at Goalball UK said “The IBSA World Games were an excellent experience for our Men and Women’s squads. We faced tough opposition throughout and overcame many challenges. Our players and staff should all be proud of their performance and for giving it their all in every game.”

“Our High-Performance Programme is constantly developing and we’re now starting preparations for the European Championships in December for another chance at Paris 2024 qualification”

Dan Roper, a GB Men player is in action as he releases the ball. His team mate Matt Loftus is in the background.

IBSA World Games 2023 credit Richard Hall

Mark Winder, CEO at Goalball UK said “As we reflect on the achievements and moments of triumph from the World Games, we are also looking forward with great optimism for the future of goalball and blind sport in the UK.

“The Games showcased the incredible potential of our sport, and we are more committed than ever to its growth and development. With the continued support of our partners and community, we are confident that the future holds even greater opportunities for players and fans alike” 

If you’re new to goalball and would like to get involved, check out our explainer video below to find out how!