The group draw for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games goalball competition was held in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, May 10, with just over 100 days to go.
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams were represented by gold balls at the Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y to be drawn by Mikako Kotani, the sports director for Tokyo 2020.
In the men’s draw, defending Paralympic Games champions Lithuania were picked against world champions Brazil in pool A. Adding to the tension in the top-class group are Rio 2016 silver medalists the USA, hosts Japan, and African champions Algeria.
USA men’s goalball Head Coach Keith Young said: “As we approach the Tokyo Paralympic Games, it is an exciting time to know what teams will be in our pool. The coaching staff has analyzed the other nine teams going to Tokyo. We expect that our team will be prepared with our strategy and be ready to adjust accordingly. Just as with any international competition, we respect our opponents because every team has the opportunity to make it to the podium.”
In Pool B, European champions Germany, Belgium, Ukraine, Asian champions China and Turkey will face off for a place in the quarter-finals.
In the women’s pool D Turkey, defending gold medalists from Rio, will go against bronze medalists USA, Japan, Egypt and Brazil.
USA women’s goalball Head Coach Jake Czechowski said: “The Paralympic draw is always exciting because it marks another step in the journey towards the actual competition. With an event as prestigious as the Paralympic Games, every part of the process becomes amplified which adds to the anticipation. We are thrilled with the results of the draw and are excited to begin the final preparation stage prior to the start of the games. Every team has fought through their region to get to Tokyo and will represent the best of the best goalball teams in the world. All 10 teams have a great shot to reach the podium and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead. “
World title holders Russia, competing as RPC in Tokyo, will take on 2016 silver medallists China, Israel, Australia and Canada in pool C.
The match schedule will now be determined and published separately.
Opening the draw, IBSA Goalball Technical Delegate for Tokyo 2020, Alexey Baryaev, reflected on the significance of this summer’s competition at Makuhari Messe:
“This year is very important for the goalball world as celebrate the 75th anniversary of our sport. The main aim for each of us is to show that we are playing fair and hard despite the current restrictions all around the world. It took one more year for qualified teams to prepare, which means that a higher performance can be achieved during these 10 competition days in August to September. IBSA Goalball and Tokyo 2020 are working hard to deliver the best Paralympic goalball tournament in history.”
Men’s Pool A
Men’s Pool B
Women’s Pool C
Women’s Pool D