World Games give goalball teams shot at Rio 201608.05.2015
Three men's, two women’s teams will qualify for the Paralympics following the competition.
The window of opportunity is narrowing for goalball teams trying to reach the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. And that is what makes the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) World Games even more important, as countries will vie for the remaining spots at Rio, beginning Sunday (10 May) in Seoul, South Korea.
So far, as a result of the 2014 IBSA World Championships, Brazil, Finland and USA have already qualified on the men’s side, while USA, Russia and Turkey have done so for women’s. Brazil’s women’s team also has a spot as Paralympic host nation.
Ten teams from each of the men and women’s sides will get to go to Rio.
From these World Games, the top three ranked men's teams and the top two ranked women's teams (not otherwise qualified) each obtain one qualification slot for their National Paralympic Committee.
The top team from each IBSA goalball region – the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia/Pacific – will also qualify, as the regional championships take place between July and November.
As for this month, a ranking tournament in the World Games will determine who earns the final Paralympic spots. Teams must qualify for both the World Championships and the ranking tournament to qualify.
Goalball at the World Games begins on Sunday (10 May), with the men’s competition, bringing Paralympic bronze-medallist Turkey against Mexico. Host nation South Korea will also face London 2012 silver medallist Spain.
Lithuania kick off Pool B action against Venezuela, followed by Iran vs. Australia.
The men’s competition continues on Sunday (11 May), with Czech Republic facing Egypt, and Germany facing Sweden in Pool A. China will go against Belgium, and Canada against Japan in Pool B.
The women’s goalball competition will begin on Sunday as well. The first match in Pool X will also be the first time Paralympic silver medallist China play against Ghana – an emerging goalball challenger. Israel will play against Spain, followed by Finland versus Greece, and Ukraine versus Denmark.
In the women’s Pool Y match, defending London 2012 Paralympic champion Japan will face Algeria. Host South Korea will play against Canada, Australia against Great Britain, and Paralympic bronze medallist Sweden will go head-to-head with Germany.
The medal matches for the goalball competition will take place on 17 May.
The organizing committee expects more than 2,000 athletes to compete in “the largest sports programme that have ever been presented in the history of IBSA,” comprising of nine sports: athletics, chess, football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, showdown, swimming, and tenpin bowling.