Newmarket: Members needed for sports team for those with sight problems

Newmarket Goalball club is looking for new members. Goalball is a team sport designed for blind peop

Newmarket Goalball club is looking for new members. Goalball is a team sport designed for blind people, sighted members can play with the aid of a blindfold. Left to right, Jordan King from Newmarket Leisure Centre and goalball player Julie Bennett. - Credit: Archant

MORE players are needed for one of only two goalball teams in Suffolk.

Goalball is a team sport designed for blind athletes, but blindfolds or black-out goggles allow those who are partially sighted to compete on an equal footing and fully-sighted people to participate at a novice level.

The Newmarket goalball group, which trains at Newmarket Leisure Centre, currently only has three players, which is enough for a side, but the team is left short if a member cannot make a session.

Briony Golding, a rehabilitation officer for Sensing Change who helped set the Newmarket goalball group up last year, described it as a fast-moving game using a ball with bells on it so the players know where it is. She said each side has to work to defend their goal.

Mrs Golding said the group was “very much” looking for new members.

On the benefits of goalball, she said: “A couple of the members of the team are very sporty people and people who previously, before losing their vision, were very much involved with sporting activities so this has been something which has really benefited them.”

Newmarket goalball player Julie Bennett, 53, who has three children and two step-children, had been a PE, dance and drama teacher before she lost her sight following complications after operations to remove a brain tumour in 2010. Mrs Bennett, who had enjoyed playing hockey and activities such as skiing previously, said she had been playing goalball since last summer.

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“It wasn’t quite like playing hockey again, but it did mean I could use my energy in a different manner, as opposed to just sitting on a bike and pedalling or running on a treadmill.

“It was that sense of working in a team really.”

To join the Newmarket goalball team, which meets fortnightly on a Thursday evening at Newmarket Leisure Centre, contact Keiran Williams at the centre on 01638 782500 or Mrs Golding on 01284 758585.

People are also welcome to just turn up. Mrs Golding wanted to emphasise anyone can get involved.

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