Sarah Leiter in the ready position wearing turquoise eyeshades!

Sarah Leiter announces retirement from GB goalball

GB Women, lead by Sarah Leiter, walk out onto the court before a game begins
GB Women L-R Georgie, Meg, Lois, Antonia, Meme and Sarah stand outside in Goalball UK off court kit holding a Union Jack flag

GB Women’s Sarah Leiter has decided to hang up her GB eyeshades after competing on the international stage for over a decade. 

The decision comes after a busy twelve months for GB Women with the 2022 IBSA World Championships, 2023 IBSA World Games and the 2023 IBSA European A Championships in quick succession. 

Speaking of her retirement, Sarah said I love goalball and have enjoyed being part of the Women’s national team and representing GB for the past ten years. It wasn’t an easy decision to retire, and I will miss the team a huge amount. 

“I have been balancing goalball against working as a paediatrician for the past few years which has been challenging at times. I think the time is right to step back from international goalball and concentrate on my medical career.” 

After such a long career with GB, Sarah looks back on her highlights “There are so many amazing memories! I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I wore the GB shirt at a Europeans – it was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Then there was beating Russia during the 2019 Europeans in the Quarterfinals and beating Turkey at the 2021 Europeans. But also, so many moments of laughter with the whole team”. 

Sarah will continue to contribute to growing the sport of goalball in the UK by acting as a coach and developing the Cambridge Dons Goalball Club. “I still love goalball and have no intention of packing up my kit. I will continue to play with the Queen Bees and the Cambridge Dons. And I will also continue to be involved in the committee for Cambridge. I am really excited to continue with the club that first introduced me to goalball over ten years ago!” 

Becoming an elite athlete and representing your country comes with great sacrifice and a strong support network is key to success. Sarah explains how her friends and family helped her along the way “There are so many people who have supported me. Friends and family who have accepted ‘Sorry, I can’t make your wedding/birthday/party because I am at goalball. But also all the colleagues who have supported me with swapping shifts”.  

“Three people have had a particular role. Firstly, Warren Wilson, who set up the Cambridge Dons and first introduced me to the sport and has never stopped to encourage me. Anna Tipton was a senior women’s player when I first joint the squad and has taught me so much and continued to support me even after she retired. And finally, our coach Aaron Ford – one of the best people managers I have ever met! Aaron is someone who doesn’t just make his players better technically but knows how to grow a team together and how to support individuals through the tough days as well as celebrating the great days! 

“It has been a huge privilege playing for the GB Women’s team and I am so excited to watch this wonderful group of players reach their full potential in our amazing sport!” 

Queen Bees goalball team in their yellow team tops. L-R is Georgie, Antonia, Meme, Sarah and Lois
The GB Women's team from 2017 with Sarah Leiter on the top right
Sarah Leiter stands for a smiley photo with her team mate from Cambridge during the 2023 IBSA World Games. Sarah is dressed in GB kit and has a union jack draped around her and her friend

GB Women’s goalball former Head Coach Aaron Ford said ‘Sarah, your decade-long journey with the GB Squad has been fantastic and you have been an invaluable and constant presence within our team. Your unwavering dedication, professional attitude, and relentless commitment to improving have not only defined you as a phenomenal athlete but have set a standard for our squad and epitomises what being part of GB is all about. It has been a privilege to work with you and I will cherish the moments, memories and laughter that we have all shared on and off the court. I hope you can look back on your journey with huge pride! As you retire, know that your impact on the squad and the sport as a whole will continue to inspire generations of young people with a visual impairment to chase their dreams of being involved in sport.

Thank you for everything you have done for our sport, enjoy retirement and remember that you will always be a part of our team. I have no doubt that your next chapter will be just as remarkable in the field of paediatric medicine. I have no doubt that you will demonstrate the same levels of passion, commitment and dedication to your work and will continue to do amazing things to continue helping others” added Aaron.

Sarah Leiter prepares to shoot in a GB training camp
Sarah Leiter talks to coach Aaron Ford on the side of the court during the 2022 IBSA World Championships

Gary Fraser, High Performance Lead at Goalball UK said “Sarah is an inspirational person and has been a pivotal part of the Goalball UK high performance programme for over 10 years. She has been ever present within the GBR Women’s squad and has led by example through her dedication and hard work. Sarah is a leader and will be missed massively by the staff, players and coaches, and we wish her well for the future and in her career as a Paediatrician”. 

 “Goalball UK is lucky to retain her in the sport through her ongoing commitments to our Competition Committee and the Cambridge Goalball Club”. 

Coach Faye Dale holds a goalball above her head to throw it whilst holding a whistle and shouting
GB Women with Sarah on the Left stand for a team photo at the 2023 IBSA European A Championships