Goalball ace Goodall sets his sights on Paralympic gloryBy Adam Lee
December 07, 2011
Wokingham’s Simon Goodall is relishing the opportunity to represent his country at the Paralympics in London next summer, and believes he could help cause an upset that will see Great Britain make the podium.
Goodall, 42, is one of Britain’s top goalballers, a relatively little known sport for the visually impaired that orginated in post-Second World War Germany.
Goodall, who is originally from Nottinghamsire but now lives in Norrey’s Avenue with his Wokingham-born wife Denny, began playing the sport in 1989 and broke into the national team in the 1990s.
However, London 2012 will be his first taste of playing at the Paralympics, and he is waiting to grab the opportunity with both hands and fulfill a life-long dream.
“I can’t put it into words what it is like to be an athlete and just the thought of representing my country in the Paralympics is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“The GB team is going through a transitional period at the moment – we have a lot of new players.
“We finished 12th in the world championships in Sheffield in 2010, but since then we have made great moves forward.
“We are working hard to become fitter and stronger and I believe that when the Paralympics get here we’ll be in a position to challenge some of the teams who think they will roll over GB – and no-one is going to do that next year.
“We’ll be going out there ready to fight for every point that will take us closer to our dream of a medal.”
Goodall suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disaese that has gradually eroded his vision.
However, having broken into the GB goalball scene in the 1990s, an operation restored his sight to a level whereby he was no longer considered impaired enough to play the sport.
But in 2006, after time spent running a pub in Gloucestershire, Goodall’s sight began to worsen once again.
Upon moving back to Wokingham, he once again linked up with the British goalball squad and has been an integral part of the squad ever since.
He now trains two and half hours a day, five days a week to keep himself in top form.
And the GB team are in for a busy year because, even before London 2012, they face two major competitions in Malmo, Sweden, as well as tournaments in Venice and Lithuania.
Goodall, though, took a day off his busy schedule last week to meet with 46 other Olympic and Paralympic athletes in a get together sponsored by the National Lottery – celebrating the ‘Class of 2012.’
And he admits the hype that is surrounding the games is now starting to really hit home.
“(The National Lottery Event) has been a great opportunity to mingle with other athletes,” he said.
“Sometimes when you’re in your own sporting environment you sometimes forget that we are part of a bigger environment such as the Olympics, and events like this make you realise that you’re all working towards something that is very, very big.
“I’m going to the arena for a women’s goalball test event soon and so to experience that in a games environment will be something that I’m sure will make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and bring it all home to me.”