Yesterday, the International Blind Sports Association published the 2015 IBSA World Games goalball pools. The groupings were based on international rankings as of the end of December 2014.
On the men’s side, there are two pools. Pool A includes Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic, China, Germany, Egypt, South Korea, and Mexico. Pool B includes Lithuania, Iran, Algeria, Canada, Belgium, Japan, Australia, and Venezuela. On the women’s side, there are also two pools. Pool X includes China, Finland, Israel, Ukraine, Germany, Greece, and South Korea. Pool Y includes Japan, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Great Britain, Spain, and Ghana.
The 2015 IBSA World Games run from May 8 to May 18 in Seoul, South Korea, and the game schedule has yet to be announced. It is an important event on the blind sport calendar because for some sports like bowling, it is the highest level of international competition. For goalball though, this event is important as it is part of team’s 2016 Paralymic qualifying campaign. Teams that have already qualified for Rio, like the United States, are not eligible to participate in this event. Last year’s IBSA Goalball World Championships qualified the top three teams, and the top team from each of the four regional competitions: the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia/Pacific, will also qualify. Hosts Brazil automatically qualify for a total of eight teams in both the men’s and women’s competitions. The remaining two men’s spots and women’s sports are allocated to the top two globally ranked teams that did not qualify through those events. Global rank is based on points earned, and this competition gives teams points towards their ranking.