Children playing goalball

Goalball is a sport unique to the Paralympics. It’s similar to handball in that the object is to accurately throw a ball into the opponent’s goal.

Where goalball differs is that competitors are required to wear black out masks, obscuring their vision and ensuring a level playing field. The ball contains a bell to alert players as to its position on the field. A frenetic, fast paced sport requiring awareness and tactical nous, could you be Team GB’s next goalball star?

Goalball is unique to Paralympic sport. The game is open to both male and female visually impaired athletes. All athletes must wear “black-out” masks to ensure equality in competition.The object is to get the ball past opposition defence and into the opponent’s goal by throwing it quickly and accurately into the back of the net. The ball contains a bell to enable players to hear it and to block its path with their bodies.

Matches are played on a court 18m x 9m in two seven minute halves. Teams have three players on each side. Unusually for a sport, spectators are encouraged to stay silent to allow the players to focus on the sound and location of the ball.

There are three main rules concerning the way the ball is thrown. Firstly the ball must touch the floor of the court before passing over the centre line; secondly, when a member of the team gets the ball, that team has eight seconds in which to throw it must take place within eight seconds of coming under the control of the defending team; and thirdly no player may take more than two consecutive throws for their team.

Goalball is currently played in around 51 countries.