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Goalball National Tournament to be Held in Vancouver USA

4 Jun, 2013


Local Area Athletes Participate for National Title

The 2013 United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) Goalball National Championship will take place June 20-23 at McLoughlin Middle School. Goalball is a Paralympic sport for blind and visually impaired athletes, and played competitively around the world by both men and women. The very fast paced sport is physically challenging, strategic and exciting.

 “It’s a great pleasure to welcome the Goalball National Championships to Vancouver USA,” said Ashley Shimer, sports sales manager at the Vancouver USA Regional Sports Commission. “As a national event, it gives us an opportunity to showcase our region as a premier sports destination. It also gives our local competitors a chance to compete at home for the first time."

Goalball is played in two teams of three players, facing each other in a 9x18 meter course. The object of the sport is to roll a basketball size ball with bells inside over the opponent’s goal line. Listening for the oncoming ball, opponents block it with their bodies, stop the ball and take control of it. The sport was developed after WWII as a method to keep blinded veterans physically active. Goalball is the premier team game for blind athletes.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity to be able to have the national goalball tournament in Vancouver USA,” said Billy Henry, executive director of the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes. “Twenty to twenty-five of the best adult men and women's teams will compete for the national title, with local teams from Vancouver and Portland also competing. It's important to provide these opportunities to the visually impaired and blind to help them build self-confidence, as they pursue their dreams in sports and in life."

For more information, please visit the USABA website. The event is open for the public.

About Vancouver USA Regional Sports Commission: The Vancouver USA Regional Sports Commission, a division of the Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office, works to promote Vancouver USA and Clark County, Washington, as a sports event destination, while positively influencing the quality of life and economic vitality in Clark County. For more information call 360-750-1553, or visit www.VancouverUSAsports.com.

About USABA: USABA is a Colorado-based 501(c) (3) organization that provides life-enriching sports opportunities for every individual with a visual impairment.  A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USABA provides athletic opportunities in various sports including, but not limited to track and field, nordic and alpine skiing, biathlon, judo, wrestling, swimming, tandem cycling, powerlifting and goalball (a team sport for the blind and visually impaired).

Sports opportunities allow people who are blind and visually impaired to develop independence through competition, without unnecessary restrictions. Like sighted people, the blind can share in the thrill of victory and the reality of defeat.

In addition to providing people who are blind and visually impaired with athletic opportunities, the second part of USABA's mission is to change society's negative stereotypes concerning the abilities of blind people as well as other disabled individuals.  Combating stereotypes is achieved by both educating the public through various media avenues as well as by training athletes to enter schools and community organizations to directly address disability issues.

USABA was founded by Dr. Charles Buell in 1976 with the purpose of improving the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired. That year, 27 young men and women were selected to represent the United States in the first Olympiad for the Disabled in Toronto, Canada. As a result of this Olympic involvement, a group of national leaders, educators and coaches of the visually impaired met to discuss the need for an organization to structure, promote and sponsor competitions for people who are blind and visually impaired throughout the United States.

Today, USABA has evolved into a national organization that provides sports opportunities to thousands of children, youth, adults and veterans who are blind and visually impaired.  USABA programs serve athletes of all ages and abilities from local grassroots programs to the elite Paralympic level.

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