As the demand for goalball increases across the country, Goalball South Australia held the state’s first ever National Championships, with 90 players attending from five states to take part in the four-day event.
The 2014 Australian Goalball Championships saw both Paralympic athletes and community players congregate in Adelaide to compete. In fierce gold medal matches, the NSW men’s team defeated reigning champions QLD and also won the women’s and youth titles.
As a state which had never held the Championships previously or entered teams in all categories, South Australia came up strong, winning the junior division and taking home a silver and bronze in the women’s and youth divisions respectively.
“Goalball South Australia has done a great job in both hosting the event and in increasing participation numbers across all divisions,” said Tournament Director and Australian Paralympic women’s team manager Cathy Lambert.
“As a sporting organisation, Goalball South Australia has only been around for 10 months, so to put on such a high quality event and allow so many people inside and outside of the sport to see what goalball is all about was a great achievement.”
The first-time event attracted South Australian VIPs from the State Government and other key sporting organisations a first-hand experience of the sport.
“We held a formal opening ceremony, and the game that followed the reception was the a women’s match between the two teams that made it to the final, NSW and SA,” Lambert said.
“Out of the eight players across the NSW and SA women’s team, seven of them are current Australian team members or in the national squads, so it gave them a good taste of our highest calibre athletes and what is to come from the sport.”
On national a level, participation was strong in the junior and youth divisions, showing plenty of promise for future teams, and the standard of play across the grades was more than it had ever been in past years, making for an exciting competition.
“Goalball has come a long way since it became a Paralympic sport in 1976, and it’s incredible to see the it become more popular to participate in each year. The awareness of the sport is truly growing,” Lambert said.
“With opportunities available for goalball players, the future for the sport at is bright at both Paralympic and community level.”
Results and awards from the 2014 Australian Goalball Championships are as follows:
Men Gold Medallists NSW 5 QLD 4
Women Gold Medallists NSW 8 SA 5
Youth Gold Medallists NSW 13 QLD 9
Junior Gold Medallists SA 10 NSW 9
Men – Victoria
Women – Qld
Youth – SA
Junior – WA
Champion State Award
New South Wales
MVP Awards – Men
MVP – Jon Horsbourgh
Runner Up – Robbie Vogt
MVP Awards – Women
MVP Nicole Esdaile
Runner Up – Tyan Taylor
MVP Awards – Youth
MVP – Tyson Cluse SA
Runner Up – Isaac Toppo NSW
MVP Awards – Junior
MVP – Aiden Smith NSW
Runner Up – Finlay MacKenzie VIC
2014 “All Tournament Team” – Mens
Michael Sheppard – Qld
Jon Horsbourgh – SA
Ben Rowe – WA
Robbie Vogt – NSW
Daniel Dalton – Vic
Sam Byrne – Vic
2014 “All Tournament Team” – Womens
Rachel Henderson – SA
Tash Cugley – SA
Tyan Taylor – NSW
Nicole Eisdale – Qld
Raissa Martin – Qld
Brodie Smith – Vic/NSW
2014 “All Tournament Team” – Youth
Tyson Cluse – SA
Bradley Brider – WA
Isaac Toppo – NSW
Patrick Perring – Qld
Connor Perring – Qld
Mitchell Smith – WA
2014 “All Tournament Team” – Juniors
Scott Tiller – SA
Jess Wallace – SA
Genevieve Watson – WA
Aiden Smith – NSW
Roseanna Liang – NSW
Finlay McKenzie – VIC
By APC Media
Photo with thanks to Goalball South Australia