Goalball UK has received funding from UK Sport’s Aspiration Fund and have targeted qualification for the Tokyo Paralympic 2020 games as a result.

Previously we did not receive any Government funding for our GB teams – meaning we, the  national governing body has relied on creating other revenue streams in order to support their high-performance class athletes.

Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball UK, said: “We are pleased that UK Sport have awarded our elite women athletes this funding. However, we have not received the full amount that our world-class athletes deserve, though this still represents a great opportunity to make competing at Tokyo 2020 a realistic target these women with a visual impairment.

“There has been a dramatic increase in participation in at the grassroots level, making it even more essential that there is goalball representation within Team GB at the Paralympics. Our women’s squad is currently in a position where qualification for Tokyo 2020 is achievable and we are now preparing to seize this opportunity through tournament success.

“We have spoken with the squad, and in spite of receiving less than we hoped for, the determination from the players shone through. Everyone in our sport will do what we can to see them reach the Paralympic Games.

“For Goalball UK to continue the remarkable progress we are making, particularly within the area of social impact – a key criteria for this fund, we need to create opportunities for our high-performance athletes.

“This funding will enable us to compete in more international tournaments and provide increased training camps in the UK to develop the potential of these athletes. However, we will not be able to provide the additional support we had intended, including sport science, increased strength and conditioning work, and building on our duty of care to our athletes.”

Peter Elliott, the Non-Executive Director with responsibility for Performance and Talent of Goalball UK, commented: “Participation in goalball throughout the UK has been growing phenomenally at the grassroots level. In the past four years alone, the sport has grown by 425%. This is because of Sport England funding and a true legacy that participating in London 2012 delivered.

“But for the sport to continue on this remarkable journey we need to capitalise on this growth by having Britain’s best goalball players competing on the world stage.  We’re happy that UK Sport have recognised an exciting sport that will do so much to inspire generations of blind and partially sighted athletes.”