Aneesah Rabbaane – Nottinghamshire SheriffsNottinghamshire Sheriffs team photo with medals!

This month at Goalball UK, we are celebrating Black History Month by catching up with goalballers to speak about their black sporting idols – from trailblazers on the pitch, to those that use their platform to fight for equality. Today Aneesah Rabbaane tells us why elite level players in the goalball family inspire her…

First introduction to goalball

I first got into goalball back in the summer of 2018, I was looking to take up a sport and found myself scrolling through the ‘This Girl Can’ website browsing the options when I came across goalball. It was a really intriguing sport so I emailed Hannah, the coach at Nottinghamshire Sheriffs and arranged to go down to a session – I loved it!

As a fully sighted individual, it was my first time experiencing a VI sport but everyone was so welcoming, there’s a real sense of community within the club and I soon became friends with not only the other players but also coaches.

Post match team photo of Nottinghamshire Sheriffs.

I found it’s not just within the club but also at competitions, everyone is friendly and it’s a great environment to be in, I would say that’s one of my favourite parts of the sport.

Do you have any particular sporting idols?

My two sporting idols are Usain Bolt and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, I love following track and field events and they are two athletes who have been to the top of their sport and that’s a real inspiration for me.

What is it about Usain Bolt and Katarina Johnson-Thompson in particular that inspires you?

Usain Bolt is someone who was unstoppable at his best, but he would also always have a smile when competing. You could tell that he was doing what he loved and it really showed when he was in competition which made me enjoy watching him race. He was clearly very passionate about sprinting and I think that’s very important for anyone competing.

I have followed Katarina’s progress pretty much since the start so I have loved seeing her develop over the years to eventually reach her goals. Like Bolt, she clearly loves athletics which made it easy to get behind her and want her to succeed even more. Seeing that progression over the years has been something that I have really enjoyed, especially because I’ve been able to witness how much work has been put in so to see it all pay off for her has been great – It was almost as if I felt that success too by following her.

Has Usain Bolt and Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s success motivated you to excel in goalball?

I would say getting into goalball in the first place was due to them, seeing them compete at such a high level in something they love and are passionate about made me want to find a sport I loved. Having role models with the drive to be at the top of their game has really motivated me to be the best I can, but also to help others reach their potential. I help out at training and one day would like to become a coach myself, it would be great to support others in progressing within goalball and pass on the skills and knowledge I have gained over the years.

Aneesah and Coach Kirsty posing with a guide dog wearing a medal!