With just four months to go to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the draw for the men’s and women’s Goalball competition was made today in London.
Organized in cooperation between IBSA Goalball and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the draw means that teams will now be able to more clearly plan their potential routes to Paralympic glory in the summer.
12 teams were drawn into two groups of six for the men’s competition, and 10 teams into two groups of five for the women’s. Having accepted the host nation slots last month, Great Britain were drawn from the first pot alongside the three top teams from the World Championships – Lithuania, China and Iran for the men, and China, USA and Sweden for the women.
The four Regional Champions were then divided between the two groups, before finally the four men’s teams and the two women’s teams who qualified from last year’s IBSA World Games were also placed. A full list of the Goalball qualification slots for London 2012 can be found here.
The men’s draw will see hosts Great Britain face World Champions and Beijing 2008 silver medallists Lithuania, as well as Beijing 2008 bronze medallists Sweden in the group stages. Paralympic champions China will again face Iran in the group stage, the only team they suffered defeat to on their way to the 2008 gold medal.
Similarly to the men’s draw, the women’s draw also sees the hosts Great Britain face the daunting task of facing both World Champions and Beijing 2008 silver medallists China as well as Beijing 2008 bronze medallists Denmark. In the second group, Paralympic Champions USA will face Sweden, who narrowly missed out on a medal in Beijing 2008 and who took the bronze behind USA’s silver at the World Championships.
The draw was made by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board member Rita van Driel who said: ”The draw has produced a lot of exciting ’local derbies’ such as USA v Canada in the women’s tournament, and Sweden v Finland in the men’s tournament. I am pleased that all the continents are represented in this exciting sport during the Paralympic Games. I wish all the teams the best of luck."
Kari Marklund, IBSA Goalball Chairman: ”We now have two balanced groups in both the men’s and women’s compettition. The skill of the individual players and the teamwork is improving from year to year. It is impossible to predict medalists and I’m looking forward to a fantastic competition.”
Full draw for the Goalball groups at the London 2012 Paralympic Games:
The people in the picture - from left to right:
Dr. Kari Marklund (IBSA Goalball Chairman), David Luckes (LOCOG Head of Sport Competition), Rita van Driel (IPC Governing Board member), and Piers Jones (LOCOG Sport Group Manager).