The newest episode Balls and Alls on the Blind Sports Radio was published online. The hosts discussed swish, blind cricket and goalball.
The Queensland State goalball titles are coming up this weekend in Brisbane. There are three men’s teams, three women’s teams, and three emerging sides. The overall level of goalball is increasing around Australia, especially in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. This past weekend in New South Wales, they had 30 players at a training session, and the state will send full teams to the national championships. Junior players use a smaller softer ball in Australia, and the new goalball ball being used internationally is only now being introduced in Australia. It only has been used in New South Wales. The commentators discussed the fact that you do not need to be visually impaired to play goalball in Australia’s national league.
The Australian national blind cricket team are scheduled to have a training camp this weekend. The camp will be not be a key part of the selection process for the World Cup because so many new players will be participating. They have a lot of young players attending, and taking completely untested players to Sri Lanka or India would be a risk. They do not anticipate much drinking at the camp because so many players are under age, though there will not likely be a ban on alcohol. According to the commentators, the men’s national team has been carried by the B1 players for the past few years. National team selection for the World Cup needs to be done by the first week of August.
Australia is having a national swish tournament, which will mostly feature players from Queensland and Victoria. Western Australia plays the game more recreational than competitive. Swish is a vision impaired game similar to table tennis. The ball used now is bigger than it was ten years ago.
The Australian national cerebral palsy football team coach was interviewed on the program. He said the Australian team had been axed by the Australian Sports Commission based on the Winning Edge requirements. All players on the team have varying levels of spasticity. The top player plays at a high level in Queensland. The game is played outside, on a slightly smaller field and there is no offsides rule. A young player of the game name Claire Falls tried to raise AU$175,000 for the team and challenged the Australian government to match it dollar for dollar. The national team lost their funding because they were deemed not medal contenders, but boccia retained their funding despite also not having any real chance for a medal in Rio. The Australian team had their youngest squad in some time in their most recent games, and were playing top international teams. The team could not get many opportunities for improving their ranking, because they had few opportunities to play compared to European teams because of the distance. European teams play so much, it is easier to get higher rankings. The coach was highly critical of the fact that sports with lots of media attention and lots of existing sponsorship get more Winning Edge money even if they are not medal hopefuls. The cut in funding is similar to the situation goalball dealt with during the mid 2000s.
The hosts also interview Australian vision impaired swimmer Lindy Hou. She discussed her experiences losing sight and her progression from triathlon to tandem cycling.