Sound play on court

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Sport -

HEAR­ING is be­liev­ing the ball is in the right place for blind and vi­sion im­paired play­ers com­pet­ing at the four-day Aus­tralian Na­tional Goal­ball Cham­pi­onships in Su­bi­aco on Thurs­day.

The game was in­vented in 1946 to re­ha­bil­i­tate blind World War II sol­diers but is now also played by the com­pet­ing pub­lic.

Play­ers at­tempt to block a ball with bells in­side to de­ter­mine lo­ca­tion, while tape and string that can be touched in­di­cate the play­ing court’s bound­aries.

“You didn’t think your hear­ing was as acute un­til you played, and you have to rely on it as ev­ery player also wears a blind­fold,” Vic­to­ria Park and highly-vi­sion im­paired goal­ball player Alan Leahy (19) said.

How­ever, no chances are taken with blind­folds manda­tory and the au­di­ence re­quired to be quiet.

“Be­ing silent is prob­a­bly more an­noy­ing to them as they can’t speak,” Mr Leahy said.

Goal­ball made its Par­a­lympic Games de­but in 1976, and more than 100 ath­letes will com­pete at the cham­pi­onships at Perth Mod­ern School this year.

Mr Leahy started play­ing goal­ball four months ago be­cause of friends’ par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Goal­ball WA needs vol­un­teers for the cham­pi­onships, at which du­ties will in­clude serv­ing break­fasts, goal judg­ing and guid­ing com­peti­tors through the school.

Call 0403 758 223 to vol­un­teer.

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