Four RNC students selected for Paralympic qualifier showdown

Pictured from left to right are Team GB's Antonia Bunyan, Megan Smithson-Booth, Meme Robertson and Kali Holder

Antonia Bunyan, Meme Robertson, Kali Holder and Megan Smithson-Booth, students at RNC in Hereford, will join up with the Great Britain women’s goalball team to compete for a place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The IBSA Goalball European Championships take place in Rostock next month and represents the last opportunity for Great Britain to secure a spot at the Paralympic Games.

Goalball is a fast-paced team sport for people with a visual impairment. It is played by two teams of three players. The objective of the game is to score by bowling the ball along the floor into the opposing team’s goal.

The four athletes, who all play for the College’s own goalball club RNC Academy, will be aiming for a top three finish to guarantee their place. However, as Turkey and Russia will be participating and have already qualified for the Paralympics, being the first non-qualified team will also book Great Britain’s space on the plane to the Japanese capital.

Great Britain will get underway in their group against Turkey on Wednesday 9 October, before meeting Germany later that day. The Netherlands and Israel complete the group and these games will be contested the following day.

Friday 11 to Sunday 13 October will see the quarter-finals, semi-finals, bronze and gold medal matches take place.

Great Britain’s head coach and sport academy teacher at RNC, Aaron Ford said:

‘Everyone has worked very hard to reach this stage; the team has progressed so much on and off the court in the last 12 months. We believe we are ready to build on some impressive performances and make the last step to compete on a global stage.’

‘We’re all aware of what is at stake, and there’s an awe-inspiring determination to make it happen. Whatever the outcome in Rostock, this qualifying campaign has been a real statement of intent for Great British goalball. We already have a young squad and the competition for places from the brilliant players emerging from the Talent Pathway has been the fiercest that I have ever seen.’

Achieving qualification will be the third time a Great Britain goalball team has made it to the Paralympics. There was previously British representation at London 2012 as hosts, where the women’s team reached the quarter-finals, and at Sydney 2000.


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