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Goalball is a team sport for blind or visually impaired athletes, and is a Paralympic sport.
It was first demonstrated in the 1976 Paralympics in Toronto and became a full time sport in the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem.
A team consists of up to six players, only three of whom may be on the court at any one time.
The object is to roll a basketball sized ball into their opponents goal.
The ball used is unique as inside the ball there are bells, which help the players to locate the ball. The ball weighs 1.25 kg (about 2.76 pounds) and has eight holes and noise bells contained within. The ball's circumference is around 76 cm (about 30 inches)
Whether a player is blind or partially sighted, there is no advantage as all players are made to wear blindfolds so that the partially sighted players don't have an advantage.
A match consists of two ten minute periods with a two minute break inbetween periods.
One unique feature of a match is that everyone in attendance must remain completely silent, this is to help the players in hearing the bells within the ball.
There are three classifications in the sport. The classes are B1, B2 and B3.
B1: totally blind athletes.
B2: partially blind athletes.
B3: partially sighted athletes.
The court measures 9m wide x 18m long. At either end of the court, spanning the full width of the court, are the goals which measure 3m wide x 9m long.
The referees job in to inform them the players of what is happening in the game. The referee must be loud and clear when making a call, this is why it is imperative that all spectators are quiet. Some of the calls a referee can make in a game of Goalball are Play, Dead Ball, and Goal.
Play is shouted by the referee when a game is ready to commence.
Dead Ball is shouted by the referee when the ball has ceased moving and players are unaware of its location on the court.
Goal is shouted by the referee when the ball ends up in one of the goals and the attacking team receives a point.
In Goalball there are two types of penalties, Team Penalties and Personal Penalties. In a penalty situation only one player from the defending team remains on the court having to defend the goal all on their own. If a personal penalty called then the player who incurred the penalty must remain on court to defend the goal. If a team penalty is called then the player who took the last shot remains on court to defend the goal.
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