Goalball squad announced for Paralympic qualifier showdown

The Great Britain women’s goalball team that will compete for a place at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo has been announced.

Head coach Aaron Ford has selected Sarah Leiter, Antonia Bunyan, Georgie Bullen, Meme Robertson, Kali Holder and Megan Smithson-Booth to travel to the IBSA Goalball European Championships in Rostock next month.

The competition in the northern German city represents the last opportunity for Great Britain to secure a spot at the Paralympic Games next summer.

Great Britain will be aiming for a top-three finish. However, as Turkey and Russia will be participating and have already qualified for the Paralympics, being the first non-qualified team will book Great Britain’s space on the plane to the Japanese capital.

Great Britain will get underway in their group against Turkey on Wednesday 9 October, before meeting Germany later that day. The Netherlands and Israel complete the group and these games will be contested the following day.

Friday 11 to Sunday 13 October will see the quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze and gold medal matches take place.

Joining Aaron and the players in Rostock will be a coaching and physio team consisting of Becky Ashworth, Faith Fisher and Hannah Levi.

Goalball squad announced for Paralympic qualifier showdown
Head coach Aaron Ford with team

Speaking about the European Championships, Aaron said:

“Everyone has worked very hard to reach this stage, the team has progressed so much on and off the court in the last 12 months. We believe the team is ready to build on some impressive performances and make the last step to compete on a global stage.

“We’re all aware of what is at stake, and there’s an awe-inspiring determination to make it happen. Whatever the outcome in Rostock, this qualifying campaign has been a real statement of intent for Great British goalball. We already have a young squad and the competition for places from the brilliant players emerging from the Talent Pathway has been the fiercest that I have ever seen.”