Goalball is a widely popular team sport. The sport was invented in 1946 shortly after the end of the Second World War, as an effort for the Austrians and Germans to assist veterans who lost their sight during the war. What started out as a game later turned into a competitive sporting event that was especially highly popularised in Europe and America.
Nominated as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Paralympic games in Heidelberg, West Germany, goalball was officially added as a medal sport in the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto. The first world championship of goalball was held in Austria in 1978. Women's goalball was introduced as an official Paralympic event in the New York games in 1984. In the last 30 years, Finland, Denmark and the USA have dominated the Paralympics goalball games.
Today, 10 men's and 10 women's teams are eligible to compete at the Paralympic games. Globally, there are at least 81 competing nations and 270 international referees associated with the sport.
- There are two teams, each with 3 players on the court
- A game lasts 24 minutes, with two halves of 12 minutes
- Players are required to wear non-transparent eye masks to ensure fairness of competition
- Silence is of utmost importance to the game; players rely on the bell sound of the ball
- Teams get a point for every goal scored
- The team with the highest total score accrued wins
The equipment used in goalball includes a goal net, a goalball, eye masks, and knee pads, etc.