The first Paralympic test event, the London International Goalball Tournament, starts this weekend, welcoming teams from around the world to the compete in front of local crowds in the Olympic Park.
Goalball, one of the Paralympic events with tickets still available for next year, will be played competitively for the first time on 3 and 4 December at the London International Goalball Tournament, the first Paralympic test event in the London Prepares series.
Five women’s teams from China, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden and USA will battle it out in the Handball Arena, the Goalball venue during the Paralympics. 4000 tickets over the two days of competition have been given out by the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) to local residents, schools, colleges and to Goalball supporters through Goalball UK, the National Governing Body.
Goalball is a 3-a-side team sport played by visually impaired athletes using a ball with bells inside. Deemed one of the most exciting Paralympic sports, play is conducted in silence with just the sound of the bells used to judge movement of the ball. LOCOG will use the event to test key operations including technology and timing, workforce and the transition of the Handball Arena from Handball to Goalball competitions.
Debbie Jevans, Director of Sport at LOCOG said: “It will be fantastic to see competitive Paralympic sport happening for the first time in the Olympic Park and we are delighted to welcome Goalball teams from around the world. We are sure this will not only be a highly competitive tournament, it is also vital for us to test our operations, technology and field of play. We have purposely run the Goalball test event a week after the Handball test event in order to test the transition of the venue, replicating the same transition as at Games time.”
Coinciding with the first Paralympic test event and the second tranche of tickets for the Paralympic Games going on sale, the Olympic Lottery Distributor also confirmed their grant of £66m to LOCOG, as part of the overall Public Sector Funding package. As part of the public funds already agreed in the bid commitment, this money will contribute towards costs which include transitioning the venues and for timing, scoring and results for Paralympic sports.
Irish fans looking for tickets to support the Irish team in action will be pleased to see that a large number of tickets – and for most events – are still available . Remaining tickets for the London 2012 Paralympic Games went on sale on a first come, first served basis on Friday 2 December 2011 at www.tickets.london2012.com.