At the beginning of this month in South Africa, the Witels Challenge Tournament was won by Pioneer School on the women’s side and KWV on the men’s.
The competition was unique in that its purpose was to build interest in the sport by sighted people, with each team having two sighted players and a vision impaired player on the court at a time. The vision impaired player could not play in the center, and had to take the left or right positions. The periods were five minutes each, instead of the normal twelve. All teams competing in the tournament were sponsored by local businesses, with their employees playing on the team.
Afrimat and Pioneer School met in the final of the women’s competition, with the Pioneer School winning the game 9 – 4. Pioneer School was invited to compete by the organizers. The school is for students with visual impairments and other disabilities. They are based in Worcester, Western Cape.
On the men’s side, Ultra City came into the competition as tournament favorites having won the event in 2012 and 2013, and making the finals in 2011. Ultra City proved their dominance early by beating newcomers KWV 7 – 5 during group play. The teams met again in what the organizers described as a semifinal. The match was close, with the score 2 – 2 at the half, and ending 5 – 4 in favor of the new comers, KWV. They met Afrimat in the final, where the rules were modified after approval from both teams to allow the vision impaired player to play in the center. Afrimat qualified for the finals after going undefeated in group play. It was another close match, with the final tied 3 – 3 at the half, but Afrimat lost control of their game and lost to KWV by a final score of 5 – 8.
The tournament was hosted by the Worcester Goalball Club who are based in the Western Cape of South Africa.