You are here: Home / Paralympic Games / Sports / Goalball


Buda Mendes/CPB

Instead of adapting a sport for people with disabilities, Hanz Lorezen from Austria and Sepp Reindle from Germany, developed a new sport in 1946, aimed at World War Two veterans who had lost their eyesight. Thirty years later at the Toronto Games, it was chosen as a demonstration sport. From that moment onwards, world championships started being organised and in 1980, the sport made its Paralympic debut in Arnhem. Women started competing in the sport in 1984.

In Brazil, goalball started being played in 1985 and ten years later, the national team had already won the silver medal at the Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires. Brazil made its Paralympic debut in Beijing 2008. In London 2012, the men’s team won the silver medal for the first time.

Guilherme Taboada/CPBThe game is played on a 9 metre wide by 18 metre long court. The game is played in two ten minutes halves and teams have three starting players and three substitutes. Like in five-a-side football, the ball rattles to guide players. All athletes wear a blindfold to ensure the level playing field.


Totally blind or with light perception, unable to recognise the shape of a hand at any distance.

Able to recognise shapes

Able to make out shapes


Silence at the gym

As in five-a-side football, goalball uses a ball with a rattle inside, which guides players. Therefore, the audience is not allowed to make any noise during the games. The stadium sits quietly for most of the match, which is somewhat different than the screaming and yelling usually associated with most sports.

See also

Brazilian Sports Confederation for the Visually Impaired (CBDV)