The Alberta Sports and Recreation Association for the Blind (ASRAB) supports Albertans who are blind and visually impaired to live physically active lives and participate in competitive sports programs. We do this by:
- Providing development and competitive sport programs;
- Collaborating with others who share our vision; and
- Promoting the abilities of the blind and visually impaired to actively participate in a broad spectrum of sport and recreation programs.
ASRAB currently supports the training and national level competition of one sport: Goal Ball.
Goalball is the signature program of ASRAB. Goalball was initiated in 1946 to aid in the rehabilitation of blinded war veterans. The game was introduced in 1976 at the Paralympics in Toronto and has been played at every Paralympics since. World Championships are held every four years. Goalball is now played competitively in over 85 countries world-wide.
Goalball is a team sport played on a standard volleyball court. The goals run the full width of the court and are 1.3 meters high. A goalball weighs 1.25 kg and has bells inside it.
Goalball has three characteristics that distinguish it from all team ball games played by sighted people:
- it is played with a ball that is audible, so that the player can hear it when it is in motion (and fans must cheer silently, so as not to interfere with the athletes’ ability to hear the ball);
- it is played on a court with tactile markings so the players can find their positions on the court by checking the markings with their feet or hands;
- all players wear blacked out goggles so they have equal vision – none.
ASRAB regularly hosts goalball tournaments; to showcase the sport in Alberta, and provide our elite athletes with a competitive opportunity.
The Provincial Program runs year round.
- Season – runs from approximately October to May. There are weekly weekend practices, run by ASRAB coaches. The season usually involves travel to 1-2 competitions, leading up to the National Championships.
- Off Season – runs from approximately June – September. The participants will continue physical training, and participate in a monthly practice to maintain technical skills.
Athletes must be sight classified to compete in National Championships. A general description of the 3 categories are:
- B1 – No light perception in either eye up to light perception, but inability to recognize the shape of a hand at any distance in any direction.
- B2 – From ability to recognize the shape of a hand up to visual acuity of 2/60 and/or visual field of less than 5 degrees.
- B3 – From visual acuity above 2/60 up to visual acuity of 6/60 and/or visual field of more than 5 degrees and less than 20 degrees.
Each sport classification may vary in name, but will coincide with the IBSA (International Blind Sports Association) sight classification requirements.