PARALYMPICS / Paralympic Sports


Updated: 2008-08-29 16:03



A game of Goalball is played by two teams of three players with a maximum of three substitutes on each team. Competition is divided into men's and women's divisions.

The athletes attempt to throw the ball over the goal line at the opposite end of the court, thus scoring a goal. Defending players try to gain possession of the ball, by putting themselves in between the thrower and the goal. When a defending player gains possession, it is then his or her team's turn to throw at the opposing team's goal. The only time there is a stoppage of play is after a goal has been scored, or if the ball crosses a sideline. If the ball crosses one of the sidelines before a defending player has touched or deflected it, "out" is called, and the ball is given to the opposing team. If the ball crosses over a sideline, having been deflected by a defending player, "blocked out" is called, and the ball is given to a player from the team who has just thrown. In both instances, "Play" is called and play continues.

The game is played on a rectangular court, which is divided into two halves by a centre line. A goal are erected at both ends and athletes are positioned in the area within three-meters of the goal lines. In tournament play all the lines are tactile. For each team there are two wings and a centre who hold their positions on the court while defending their goal.

There are three basic rules concerning the manner of throwing. Firstly, a thrown ball must touch the floor of the court before passing over the highball (or centre) line, which is the line 6m from the goal line at the thrower's end. Secondly, a throw must take place within eight seconds of coming under the control of the defending team. Passing can take place within the eight seconds, and players may move about the court to adopt favourable positions. Thirdly, no player may take more than two consecutive throws for his team. A number of personal and team penalties may be awarded for rule infractions.

Matches last a total of 20 minutes and are divided into two equal halves with a three-minute break in between. In case of a tie, after the end of the regular time, two additional overtime periods of three minutes each are played. If the match is still tied at the end of overtime, free throws are executed, the number of which is equal to the minimum number of registered players.

Each game is governed by two game referees, four goal judges, one scorer, one timer, one ten-second timer, and one shot recorder. At all major competitions two ten-second timers are required. During the game spectators must remain absolutely silent so that players can follow the direction of the ball. Spectators may however applaud or cheer after a goal is scored and at the end of each half.

(Credit: IPC. Click here for further information.)

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