Blind Sport NZ Chief Executive Dan Shepherd said he was excited about the potential of the portable goals to grow goalball in New Zealand.
"There aren’t many goalball facilities in New Zealand and we’ve been limited in our ability to introduce the sport to new locations. These portable goals will allow us to support regional clubs and take the game on the road to communities and athletes that haven’t been exposed to the sport or had the chance to participate in the past.”
Goalball is popular among blind and low vision athletes, but also playable by sighted players. Teams of three players try to roll or bounce a 1.25kg ball with bells inside across an indoor court and a goal at the other end, while opposing players try to block the ball from entering their net by diving. All players wear blackout visors to create an equal playing field, relying on sound to identify where the ball is.
Mr Shepherd said the Goalball Packagoals would support club tournaments, local blind sport open days, and major events such as the Bayfair Festival of Disabled Sport in Tauranga in March and the 2019 Goalball Nationals later in the year.
The goals were purchased with the help of a grant from the New Zealand Racing Board. The grant – available to support projects that will effectively increase active participation in New Zealand amateur sport – paid for the goals along with other goalball equipment such as junior and senior goalballs and blackout goggles, he said.
Packaworld Chief Executive Peter Roberts said he was thrilled that the new goals would play a role in improving access to goalball in New Zealand.
Blind Sport New Zealand was consulted during development of the goals and Auckland Blind Sport and Recreation Club trialled one of the original goals to provide feedback and expose them to real game conditions.
“New Zealand’s blind sport and goalball communities have been intimately involved in development of the goals to make sure they meet the needs of the people who use them,” Mr Roberts said.
“The new goals and equipment will vastly improve Blind Sport New Zealand’s ability to introduce goalball to new players and help to ensure people can play for real, with proper equipment, wherever they are in the country.”
Packaworld has previously worked with blind sporting organisations around the world to develop full-sized inflatable rugby posts. These posts, known as Rugby Packaposts were used for the first time during the British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in June and July 2017. During the tour a New Zealand Blind Rugby Team played against a Blind Lions Team in the world’s first blind rugby test series.
The New Zealand Racing Board Grant is one of the primary ways the New Zealand Racing Board distributes funding to the community from the proceeds of gaming machines operated in Racing Board venues. It supports activities and programmes that encourage active participation in New Zealand amateur sports.
>> For more information about the portable goals being used by Blind Sport NZ, visit the Goalball Packagoals page on this website.