My name is Kali Holder, I am 17 years old and I live in Brighton but am currently studying as a residential student at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. I have been visually impaired from birth but my condition has progressively worsened but has been stable since I was 14 years old. The conditions I have are Nystagmus, Congenital cataracts (right eye) and post retinal visual dysfunction.
I started playing Goalball after being introduced to the sport by a visually impaired friend who I met at a youth club. They already played for Winchester, which is the most local club to me. I went along to training and very quickly began to enjoy it and started competing in the domestic league at Novice level.
I played for Winchester for a number of years despite moving to New College Worcester which is a specialist school for the visually impaired. During my time at Winchester I progressed from Novice level to Elite Goalball and was also picked up on the Goalball UK talent pathway and given opportunities to work with Great Britain Coaches and train alongside the Senior Women’s team.
The competitive side of the game is probably what attracted me the most – I love to win and try to be the best at something. This combined with the fact that the sport is so different to everything else that I have ever done made me full in love with it.
Playing Goalball has improved my communication skills, my motivation to get things done and achieve what I want to. It has also helped me to be more confident, fit and healthy which is something that also helps me in everyday life.
2018 is set to be a really busy year in my sporting life. As I finish my studies at the RNC, I’ll be representing the college at an Intermediate and Elite level as well as training with the GB squad. I’m aiming to be in the best possible shape for 2019 as we will be attending the European A Championships and World Qualification competition which will both act as qualifiers for Tokyo 2020.
I’m also really looking forward to being involved in the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign that Goalball UK are running to attract and inspire more female players. It would be great to try and find some new talented athletes who could be joining me and my team on the path to Tokyo 2020.
To anyone thinking of being more active, go for it. Goalball has truly changed my life – from studying away from home, to international tournaments and taking my first steps as a coach.
Sport helps you feel so much better about yourself and shows what you can achieve if you put the effort in. It just takes that first bit of confidence to get involved.