Goalball: The new world champion race begins!
Date: December 7, 2022
This is Day 1 for the new Goalball world champions’ races. The Centro de Desportos e Congressos de Matosinhos, in Portugal, will be, for the next nine days, the Goalball World Capital for men and women from 32 national teams. This is actually the first edition ever with the same number of men’s and women’s teams (16). Also, for the first time, women will have the last final of the competition. For that reason, let’s start talking about the women’s tournament.
In the last World Championship (WC) in Malmo, Sweden (2018), Russia took the gold medal in the final against Turkey. The current world champion is not present in Portugal, which means Turkey is taking the lead in this race, not only for the silver medal but mostly for the Paralympic title won in Tokyo.
Mr. Gultekin Karasu, Turkish women’s national head coach, understands why the spotlight is now on his team, but there are some changes for Matosinhos. “We may be first in line for the title, but the team is not the same anymore. It suffered some renovations and had very, very young players coming in, from 17 years old to 20 and 21 years old. That means that they are not that experienced, like some of our opponents. We will have to worry about ourselves.”
In the men’s competition, the math is a little bit different. Brazil is the team that everyone wants to take off the throne. They are also the current Paralympic champions and winners of the last two editions of the WC. According to the new Brazil Goalball men’s national head coach, Jônatas Castro, they came to Portugal to try something new in this sport’s history.
“You can count on a strong Brazil for this WC. We know it will be very difficult, all the teams prepared themselves very hard to be here, but we are trying to make history here: to be the first world champions for the third time in a row! It is much more than just defending our own title”, said Mr. Castro, smiling.
Mr. Castro preferred to talk about different game concepts instead of opponent countries when asked to name some direct adversaries. “Since the last Paralympic Games, Goalball has changed a lot, and we can clearly see this evolution. In my team, we study different game concepts and not individual countries, but I can tell you that Lithuania is always very strong, and beat us in Berlin recently. Turkey also beat us in the Antalya Cup, but we can’t ever ignore Japan or China for the same matter. Even with different players, the concept remains the same and very strong. Last message for the Brazilians that will be following the WC on IBSA YouTube? “We count on all of the positive energies that people are sending our way, and you can be sure that we will put all of our strengths and knowledge on the pitch to reclaim the title for us.”
The opening ceremony of the 2022 IBSA Goalball World Championships will take place at 6.30 pm (CET). At 8 pm the first match will take place: Portugal vs Japan (men) and at 9.10 pm Portugal vs Australia (women).
As usual, all the action will be streamed live on the IBSA YouTube channel, but you can check the LIVE button on the IBSA website. Stay tuned!