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June 29, 2014

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

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Spain‘s men’s national goalball team arrived in Espoo, Finland Friday for the start of the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The team comes into the tournament with the goal of securing a medal, which would qualify them for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The team missed the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Head coach Francisco Monreal said, “The objective is to reach the medal round, and qualify directly for the 2016 Games, but we need to be realistic and not think game by game, we can get a surprise. […] The competition will be decided in one game, head or tails, where it doesn’t matter what happened before.((es))

Coming into the competition, the team was ranked eleventh in the world based on the IBSA Unofficial rankings published late last month, down one spot from the April rankings. The team is scheduled to play their first game against the ninth ranked United States men’s team on Monday morning, before playing twenty-first ranked Germany later in the afternoon. Their other scheduled competitors in pool play are top ranked Iran, third ranked Algeria, seventh ranked Finland, twelfth ranked Czech Republic and twentieth ranked Ukraine. The team needs to finish in the top four in their group to advance to the second round.

The team’s roster includes Jose Daniel Fernández, Cristian Santamaria, Félix Vargas, Roman Martínez, Jesús Santana, and Javier Serrato. They are led by head coach Monreal, with assistant coach Carles Estrany and physiotherapist José Bravo. The team is drawn from around the country, with Santana playing for a club in the Canary Islands, Serrato playing for Valencia, Fernández for Madrid area Chamartín, Santamaría for Cantabria, Vargas coming from Barcelona and Martínez from Aragón.

Absent from the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the last major international competition the team competed in was the 2010 Goalball World Championships in Sheffield, England where the team finished fifth. In last year’s IBSA European Goalball Championships in Turkey, the team finished second, behind World Championship hosts and Paralympic gold medalists Finland.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.



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June 26, 2014

Belgian men\’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships

Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

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Belgian national team selfie the day they departed for the World Championship. Pictured are Klison Mapreni, Tom Vanhove and Youssef Bihi
Image: Klison Mapreni.

This morning European time, the Belgium men’s national goalball team departed for Espoo, Finland for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships. The championship is the biggest competition since the 2012 Summer Paralympics.

The team is scheduled to play their opening game on the morning of June 30 against Brazil men’s national goalball team. They are scheduled to play their second game of pool play against Turkey men’s national goalball team later that afternoon. Their remaining games in pool play are against Canada, Lithuania, Egypt, China and Japan.

The members of the team are Bruno Vanhove, Tom Vanhove, Klison Mapreni, Youssef Bihi, Wassime Amnir and Glenn Van Thournout. They are coached by Jean Claude Meulemans and Werner Van Thournout. 30-year-old teammates Bruno and Tom Vanhove are sextuplet brothers, who have been part of the national goalball program for about ten years. Three of the sextuplets, including Bruno and Tom, are visually impaired. When playing, Bruno can throw the ball at speeds of up to 60 km/hour, while Tom can throw the ball at just under 55 km/hour.

Last month, with all but one of the same roster scheduled to compete at the World Championships, the national team competed at the Belgian-hosted Parantee Paralympic Championships. They lost to Algeria 7–11, defeated Russia 11–5, lost to the United States 3–13, defeated the Netherlands 10–5, narrowly lost to Finland 5–6, and lost to Lithuania 6–13.

Goalball was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court, and the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.



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September 4, 2012

Wikinews interviews Tyan Taylor, Australian goalball player

Wikinews interviews Tyan Taylor, Australian goalball player

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 London, England— Yesterday, following a three–nil loss to the United States, Wikinews interviewed Tyan Taylor of Australia‘s national goalball team.

Tyan Taylor, APC publicity shot
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

The sport was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and, designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court; and, the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team’s net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.

Australia went into their match against the US having lost 1–3 to both Japan and Canada. They have one game left to play at the London Paralympics against Sweden, who have lost 1–5 to the United States, tied Japan 0–0 and beaten Canada 2–1.

Interview transcript

Wikinews waves Left.pngLaura HaleWikinews waves Right.png You guys weren’t expecting to qualify. The APC [Australian Paralympic Committee] has been developing you [the team, for Rio]. Are you happy with the fact? Do you feel prepared for Rio?

Tyan Taylor: Yes, the APC’s, for us, [planned] development for Rio. That’s what they have as the goal, to make us qualify for Rio. So it was a bit of a spanner in the works when we qualified for London; but, it’s been a massive experience here for us and we have stepped up from qualifying in Sydney in November to where we are now, to God know where we’re going to be for Rio. We are all pumped and excited for our team just to keep developing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Two of you were dating, or involved with, men on the national team. Were they here to watch you?

TT: Yes! We’ve got some of our Aussie men as supporters in the crowd. Meica‘s husband and Nicole‘s husband as well. And we have our first mate Robbie, he’s also part of the men’s team. They’ve been with us and they’ve been supporting us since pretty much the start, so we’re doing it on behalf of them as well.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I know that some of your players look shattered, but do you guys feel the importance? You’re the first Australian team to actually qualify on your own to enter the goalball programme.

TT: Yeah! I mean, some team members tried qualifying for Beijing, unfortunately we were unsuccessful. So, I think, some of us having only played the sport for three years and to qualify for London is just a massive achievement. We are grabbing every opportunity that we can, and putting everything on the table for each game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you going to try playing more international competitions, so you don’t have that big lag like you did last time?

TT: Hopefully, we get more international competitions, exposure – I suppose – with that, but we’ve grown so much with the little amount of international exposure we’ve had so I think we’re going to take it and roll with that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’re going to get a medal in Rio?

TT: Hopefully we’ll medal! We always look for the medals but you never know what is going to happen, so…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Are you enjoying your time here?

TT: Yes! Absolutely loving it! Awesome! The crowd are just insane! It’s great. We are all having an absolute awesome time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngLaura HaleWikinews waves Right.png Do you have anything else you’d like to share with with us? Wikinews waves Left.pngHawkeye7Wikinews waves Right.png Like the [mismatched] yellow and green socks as a fashion statement?

TT: Yeah! Yellow and green socks are… Meica in our team started that fashion. So we thought we’d all. The green and the gold.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png On a strategy thing, the US team stood up most of the time, but do you intentionally play differently, or is it just a style preference?

TT: For some people it’s a style preference. For some… I guess it’s more of a style preference. We all stand up between penalties but each to their own really in competitions like this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png It’s exceptionally fun to watch, having never seen this sport before. Thank you very much.

TT: That’s alright!

Wikinews waves Left.pngHawkeye7Wikinews waves Right.png Good luck with Rio!

TT: Thank you very much.



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  • “Australia women’s national goalball team loses 0-3 to United States in pool play in London” — Wikinews, September 4, 2012

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August 30, 2012

South Korean men\’s national goalball team defeats Algeria 4-3

South Korean men’s national goalball team defeats Algeria 4-3

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2012 Summer Paralympics

Trafalgar Square, London - London 2012 - countdown clock.jpg

Newest 2012 Paralympic stories
  • 29 June 2014: Medal-seeking Spanish men arrive at 2014 Goalball World Championships
  • 26 June 2014: Belgian men’s goalball team departs for Finland for World Championships
  • 3 January 2014: Wikinews interviews Australian wheelchair basketball player Tina McKenzie
  • 15 August 2013: Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Deborah Font
  • 11 August 2013: Wikinews interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Marta Gómez

Thursday, August 30, 2012

South Korea prepares for the ball thrown by Algeria
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — South Korea earned a 4–3 goalball victory against Algeria earlier today in the fifth match of the day at London’s Copper Box.

South Korean Sung-Wook Hong was the game’s leading scorer with 4 goals. He is a B2 classified blind competitor, though classification is largely irrelevant in goalball as all classified blind players wear masks to provide even levels of sight in the game.

The B2 classified Algerian Mohamed Mokrane led his team in scoring, with two points. From Chlef, he captains a side that qualified by winning the 2011 Africa Oceania Regional Championships in Sydney, Australia. His team comes into the Games having finished sixth at last year’s World Championships.

In a previous match today, Iran defeated China by a score of 9–5 after having been ahead 4–2 at the half.



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August 29, 2012

Canadians express optimism regarding medal potential at 2012 Summer Paralympics

Canadians express optimism regarding medal potential at 2012 Summer Paralympics

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

London, England — Tuesday, the Canadian Paralympic Committee held its first press conference for the Games, with the Chef de Mission, flag bearer, a first time Paralympian, and a four time wheelchair racer talking about where Canada is likely to earn medals. The Canadians also discussed how the movement in the country has grown since the 2010 Winter Paralympics and increases in government spending on Paralympic sport.

Canadian Paralympic Committee President Henry Storgaard and Media Officer Alison Korn
Image: Laura Hale.

Assistant Chef de Mission Elizabeth Walker-Young and flag bearer Garett Hickling
Image: Laura Hale.

First time boccia Paralympian Marco Dispaltro and four time wheelchair athletics competitor Diane Roy
Image: Laura Hale.

Media Officer Alison Korn
Image: Laura Hale.

Canadian Paralympic Committee President Henry Storgaard and Chef de Mission Gaetan Tardif
Image: Laura Hale.

Boccia Paralympian Marco Dispaltro watches a video about the Canadian Paralympic movement
Image: Laura Hale.

Assistant Chef de Mission Elizabeth Walker-Young and flag bearer Garett Hickling
Image: Laura Hale.

Canadian coaches and support staff attending the press conference
Image: Laura Hale.

Diane Roy’s coach
Image: Laura Hale.

A Canadian journalist asks a question
Image: Laura Hale.

A photographer at the press conference
Image: Laura Hale.



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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


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June 29, 2012

African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

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Friday, June 29, 2012

With only a few days before final nominations for spots to compete at the London Olympic Games and little less than a month until the start of them, African Olympians are trying to finalize their selections while preparing for their moment on the Olympic stage. Meanwhile, with two months before their own event, African Paralympians continue their own preparations this week including qualification competitions and tournaments that aid in team selection.

With a £25,000 grant on offer to any Olympic team willing to base themselves in the United Kingdom ahead of the Games, several national delegations took advantage of the opportunity to arrive early to train, acclimate and get the full Olympic experience. Gambia, Lesotho, and Egypt are a few countries that took advantage of the grant program. Egypt’s athletes will spend two weeks at the Forum sports complex in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Gambia’s Olympians will prepare for the Games at the University of York’s Huntington Athletics Stadium.

Eight Algerian boxers are making the trip to London, with Abdelhafid Benchebla leading his country’s Olympic delegation. La Tribune is optimistic about the opportunity for the country to capture its first Olympic boxing gold medal since the 2000 Sydney Games but worries that the country does not invest in its sports representatives until it is too late to improve their performance. Olympic judo medalist Ammar Benyekhlef will miss the London Games because of passport problems.

Algeria’s Paralympians are also preparing for London. Earlier this week, the national goalball team participated in a Lithuanian hosted tournament featuring teams from Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Brazil, Belgium, the United States of America, and England. The team coach Mohamed Bettahrat talked about the tournament, saying to the French language Algerian papaer La Tribune, “A new opportunity to work with the great nations offered to us to optimize our preparation for the upcoming Paralympic Games. This is a great tournament that brings together renowned this time, the selections that will be present in London, one of our group.” tournament performance played a role in final team selection.

150 of Angola’s Paralympic hopefuls were in Luanda this week competing in the national athletics championship hoping to earn a trip to the London Paralympics. For those qualified, they will then participate in a training camp starting on July 7 in Huíla before traveling to Portugal on July 14 ahead of the Games. They then leave for London on August 4.

Past Kenyan Paralympians Joseph Kibunja and Henry Wanyoike in Hong Kong a few years ago
Image: Dennislo.

Mandatory Bristol based training has been arranged by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya for nation’s runners ahead of the Games but Kenya’s runners have implied this will disrupt their preparations. Middle-distance runner Silas Kiplagat is quoted in The Star of Nairobi in response to this mandate, “I’m not for the idea because all along, we have been training in high altitude and switching to the low altitude in Bristol is likely to be counter productive.” The Bristol idea is also opposed by Athletics Kenya, with the organization’s chairman Isaiah Kiplaga saying “The athletes have put in hard work for the last couple of months for the Olympic Games and Bristol being a low altitude area, it will hurt our medal hopes.” Kenya’s runners are expected to leave for London in two waves, with the first group leaving early next week and the second wave, which includes long distance runners, leaving closer to the start of the Games.

This past Saturday, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi qualified for the London Games at the country’s national championships but his trip to the Games may be in jeopardy as two days ago, he was accused of stabbing a woman in Eldoret. According to Capital FM, Team Kenya has yet to issue a formal response to the allegations.

For two weeks, seven to nine Lesotho Olympians will prepare for the Games in north Wales, in Wrexham. Local Welshmen have been recruited to assist Lesotho competitors in their preparations for the Games, with local organizers looking for potential sparring partners if Lesotho qualifies a boxer. Two Lesotho marathon runners have already qualified. Swimmer Masempe Theko needs alternative arrangements because the Wrexham pool is only 25 meters, half the distance of the Olympic course pool. What strokes Theko will compete in at the Games is still to be determined.

At least two of Liberia’s Olympians go into the Games having competed in their sports at universities in the United States. One attended University of Texas. Another, Jangy Addy, attended the University of Tennessee and will represent the country in the decathlon after having qualified for the event.

Malawi Olympians will be headed to London with their national Olympic committee under a cloud, with the Nyasa Times alleging corruption in the contractor bidding process for facilities and other monetary handouts. The Malawi delegation only manage to qualify its athletes through the Olympic solidarity movement, which allows athletes to compete by invitation after they failed to meet qualifying standards. Fourteen year old Joyce Tafatatha and twenty-three-year old Charlton Nyirenda will represent the country in swimming. Neither swimmer has swum in a 50 meter pool before, practicing in a 25 meter unheated pool at home in Malawi. Charlton goes into the game with a goal of breaking the Malawi record of 25.46 in the 50 meter freestyle swim. Rounding out the Malawi competitors are marathoners John Kayange and Mike Tebulo, and Ambwene Simukonda who will compete in the 400 meter track event. Arriving in London earlier this week, the team is training at University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus.

According to Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) President Sani Ndanusa, Nigeria’s athletics competitors go into the Games with medal expectations. In the lead up to London, the country’s Olympic hopefuls participated in most of the major track competitions. The national Olympic Committee has until next week to finalize the list of track and field competitors they will send to London, but they have already made the decision to only send competitors who have made Olympic A qualifying times and scores. The Committee wants to avoid the embarassment of Olympic B qualifying competitors doing poorly at the Games in front of a large population of Nigerians who live in the United Kingdom. One of the Nigerian Olympians has been able to prepare for the world stage by competing at University of Texas as an athlete. Nigeria’s national football team does not have to worry about Olympic preparations as they failed to qualify for the Games in what is seen as a major blow to football in the country.

Rwanda T46 Paralympic competitor Theoneste Nsengimana qualified for the Paralympic Games in the 1500 meter event this past Saturday following a 4.06.05 finish at the Belfort Championship in France. In the process, he set a new national record for the distance in what was only his second international competition, with his first occurring last year at the All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique. Other Rwandan competitors who will join him in London include the national sitting volleyball team, power lifter Théogène Hakizimana and runner Hermas Cliff Muvunyi.

Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu
Image: Erik van Leeuwen.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius‘s Olympic 400 metre qualifying time efforts have yet to meet with success. At a qualifying race in Benin two days ago, he finished second in a qualifying heat with a time of 46.32 seconds, 1.2 seconds slower than than the required time. He missed the qualifying time again in yesterday’s semi-final when he posted a time of 46.14 in another second place finish. He has one more opportunity to qualify for the Games before Sunday, when the qualification window closes. The double amputee’s efforts to make the Olympic Games has made international news following a 2011 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that deemed him able to compete against able bodied athletes.

South African triathlete Kate Roberts will be based in Davos until four days before the start of the Games. She will then travel to London, where she will familiarize herself with the Olympic course ahead of the start of her event. She asked The South African to ask South African fans to chant “Hou Bene Hou”, “Go Kate Go” and “Go Vrystaat!” when she is on the Olympic course.

London bound Ugandan Janet Achola, who qualified for the London Olympics earlier this week in the 1500 meter event during the seminfinals at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin, made the event final to be run later today. Fellow countryman Viola Chemos is also competing. She needs to set an Olympic qualifying time in the final in order to book her own trip in the 5000 meter event.

With thirty days to go, the British ambassador assisted Zimbabwe Olympians and Paralympians with the biometric requirements for their passports and visas. When they arrive in London, their entry will be expedited. Rower Micheen Thornycroft‘s was one of the first of the Zimbawe Olympic athlete delegation to have her biometric data collected. Competitors will leave for London on July 15 with swimmer Kirsty Coventry, marathon runners Wirimayi Juwawo, Cutbert Nyasango and Sharon Tavengwa, triathlete Chris Felgate and rowers Jamie Fraser-Mackenzie and Thornycroft having already qualified but some spots for London still available at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin happening this week.

The 2012 London Olympic Games get underway on July 27 and will run until August 13. The Paralympics get underway on August 29 and will run until 9 September.



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