APM's Ben Rowe is heading to China on Monday (May 6) to represent Australia against some of the best teams in the world as he seeks to qualify for Goalball at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Ben, who is vision impaired and works with APM in Success where he helps people with disability access the NDIS, has been playing Goalball for ten years and is now ready to take on Asia’s best teams next week.
The winners will then head to the regional qualifier in Tokyo in December in the final step towards qualifying for the 2020 Paralympics in Japan.
Goalball evolved during the Second World War when it was developed to help rehabilitate soldiers who’d lost their sight. Now it’s a competitive sport played all over the world.
“The object is similar to many sports where the key is to prevent the other team from scoring a goal,” Ben said.
"The big difference is that all participants are blindfolded and all they can hear are bells inside the ball.
“The ball must make contact with the ground prior to the high ball line and again before a long ball line to remain in play, if not the result is in a penalty where you must defend the goal on your own.”
Ben said professional players can throw the ball up to 70 kilometres per hour, which gives defenders precious little time to react.
“Additionally, the ball weighs 1.25 kilograms, making this sport one of power, strength, guts and determination,” he said.
APM Group CEO Michael Anghie said the Company was proud to sponsor Ben and was looking forward to following his success in China.
“APM helps people with disability lead fuller and richer lives and we’re very pleased to support Ben on his journey towards the 2020 Paralympics,” Mr Anghie said. “Go for gold!”
Benjamin said Goalball had made a huge difference in his life and enable him to meet many great people and travel the world.
“Most of all it’s helped me accept that my disability is only a small part of my life and doesn’t define who I am,” he said.