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Utah set to host national blind goalball tournament

Published June 14, 2012 9:11 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

No cheering or loud noises will be allowed at the Copperview Recreation Center Thursday evening when a game is in progress.

Contestants have to be able to hear the ball.

The top blind athletes in the U.S. are set to participate in a three-day goalball tournament at the Midvale center, according to a news release. Seventeen teams, including the Utah Explosion, will compete for the national title in the last national tournament prior to the London Paralympics.

In goalball, two teams square off on a hardwood floor about half the size of a regulation basketball court. A basketball-sized ball weighing nearly 3 pounds is outfitted with bells so the three players on each team can determine where the ball is. The object of the game is to throw or roll the ball across the other team's end line for a point. Balls can be thrown in excess of 40 mph as defending players attempt to block the ball with their bodies.

This is the second time since 2008 Utah has hosted the national championships. The public is invited to watch — and cheer during a break in action ­— as the opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. with a short keynote address from Chris Hill, University of Utah athletic director.

A complete tournament schedule can be found at http://www.ufbvi.org/Goalball%20National%20Championships%202012.html