Goalball at the Paralympic Games

Goalball is a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes. The sport was devised back in 1946 to help rehabilitate war veterans returning from World War II. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball into the opponents' goal. A match consists of two halves of 12 minutes each. The ball (like in football 5-a-side) has bells embedded in it.

Goalball is played by male and female teams. The athletes wear blackout eye masks on the playing court, which allows players with varying degrees of vision to participate together.

The Paralympic goalball competitions are set apart from the other Paralympic events because of the unique atmosphere required inside the playing venue - goalball requires silence in the stands during the game so players can hear the bells in the ball and the officials' instructions.

Goalball was a demonstration sport at the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto, and made its debut as an official sport at the Paralympics in 1980. It was the first Paralympic sport designed exclusively for disabled players.

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