THE BLOG

Men's GB Goalball Squad's Destiny Lies in Worcester

12/08/2013 18:27 BST | Updated 12/10/2013 10:12 BST
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Headlines across the sports pages this week have rightly centered on England's Ashes battle, on Mo Farah's remarkable run of golds with 10,000m World Championship win, Lee Westwood's quest for his first golf major and, as the new Premier League season laces up its boots, the plethora of transfer sagas including Rooney and Suarez.

The spotlight shines on the big sports but the drama and destiny continues in the relative shadows across the entire world of sporting endeavour.

Disability sport has come a long way since the Mandeville Games of 1948. We may have gone from the banner headlines of 2012 but we should not be forgotten. While Luis and Wayne play the transfer game, thousands of dedicated disabled athletes are sweating through training sessions to be the best they can and advance their sporting careers.

With each cycle of Paralympics, greater progress and participation is being made and we must build on that so more athletes are encouraged to participate and enjoy sport.

Success for Premiership footballers is measured in massive wage packets and huge headlines. In goalball, it is still at a more prosaic level. We may go under the public radar but recognition for us means more visually impaired people get to know about the sport and have the chance to play.

Chasing headlines is not the primary ambition of any athlete; it is about competing against the best in our sport and coming out on top - making it all the way to the pinnacle event of our sport, be it an Olympics, Paralympics, or World Cup.

The Men's GB Goalball squad's journey to Rio starts next month with the European 'C' League Championships. It's back to the reality of competing for medals in a college or university sports hall - this time at the University of Worcester. It's a great venue and, although it may not have the pizzazz of the 2012 Copper Box venue, it's the reality for the world of Goalball and where our journey to Rio continues or comes to a grinding halt.

September's Euro's are our first qualification hurdle for the Rio Paralympics. Nine nations from across Europe, including the likes of Azerbaijan, Russia, Greece and Italy will be competing to achieve promotion up the European leagues. Over four tough days of competition GB hope to play no less than 10 matches, starting with Azerbaijan at 2pm on Thursday September 5.

Failure to achieve a podium finish will effectively end the dream of a second Paralympics for at least seven years, despite final qualification for Rio not being complete until the start of 2016.

Every nation will fight like tigers for that chance and we hope to put in the performances that will put us on the road to Rio and generate profile for the sport.

But better than reading about the sport of goalball, come and see it in action. It's fast and furious and you'll see the intensity you expect from any professional sport. We'd love you to come along to support us and help us make the headlines.

Across four tense days, Worcester will become our Wembley!

Check out the link for details of the Euro C Championships at the University of Worcester.

http://www.goalballuk.com