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11 things you didn’t know about the sport of goalball

WATCH ABOVE: Brendan Parker looks at how goalball changed the life of one visually-impaired Calgary athlete.

CALGARY – Global’s Brendan Parker caught up with one of two Calgarians playing goalball for Team Canada at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto this week.

Watch above as Parker catches up with Aron Ghebreyohannes before his bronze-medal match on Saturday, and read below for some fun facts about the sport.

  • It’s the only sport designed specifically for blind and visually-impaired athletes.
  • All athletes wear eyeshades so that athletes of varying degrees of vision can compete together.
  • Goalball was created in 1946 as a rehabilitation sport for blind World War II veterans.
  • The balls weigh 1.25 kg and have bells inside to allow players to hear them.
  • Because athletes must hear the ball to react, spectators are asked to remain quiet during play. Cheering is only allowed after goals are scored.
  • There are tactile markings on the floor that help players determine where they are on the court.
  • There are two Calgarians playing for Team Canada at the Parapan Am Games: 25-year-old Aron Ghebreyohannes and 23-year-old Tiana Knight.
  • The Canadian men’s team at the Parapan Am games is coached by two Calgarians: Danny Snow (head coach) and Darren Hamilton (assistant coach).
  • Goalball made its Paralymic Games debut in 1976.
  • Team Canada has won seven Paralympic medals in goalball, including two gold medals. Six were won by Canadian women (1984 – Silver, 1984 – Silver, 1988 – Bronze, 1992 – Bronze, 2000 – Gold, 2004 – Gold) and one was won by the men (1996 – silver).
  • At the sport’s highest level, shots can exceed 60 km/h.
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