(Stuart Hudson, second from left)
At 17 years of age, Stuart Hudson lined up for the first time in the Great Britain men’s senior squad at the Pajulahti Games, the prestigious parasport competition, after progressing through Goalball UK’s Talent Pathway.
His performances helped Great Britain to a sixth-place finish, where he starred in the opening match against the host nation, and eventual winners, making two important saves.
Since picking up the sport aged nine, Stuart became a key player for his hometown club, Scarborough Panthers Goalball Club. The club provided extensive support and a platform for Stuart to develop his skills. Here his potential was spotted and he was invited to join Goalball UK’s Talent Pathway, where he competed with Great Britain’s development squads at tournaments across Europe.
Stuart now studies at the New College Worcester and plays for RNC Hereford Goalball Club in the Goalball UK National League.
Speaking about being called up for the Pajulahti Games, Stuart said: “It was an incredible experience to join up with the men’s senior squad at an international tournament to get exposure against some really top goalball teams.
“I am more determined than ever to keep progressing and to nail down my spot in the team. I know the level I need to aspire to and with more hard work and time on the court this can be achieved and hopefully surpassed.
“Since I started playing goalball at nine years old, my progression through the ranks has been a bit of a whirlwind. The team at Goalball UK are fantastic at spotting and nurturing talent. It is a really exciting time for goalball in the UK, I hope to be a big part of the success we have moving forward and inspire visually impaired people to take up the sport.”
Great Britain’s head coach Faye Dale said: “We were delighted to promote Stuart to the senior squad. We have been working with him for a few years now and it is clear that he is one of the brightest talents we have.
“For someone so young, his levels of maturity are very impressive. If he continues to develop his skills there will be many more opportunities like this on his journey to becoming an elite goalball player.”