The 2015 Australian Goalball Championships have drawn to a close in the historic Queensland city of Ipswich after four days of competition featuring Australia’s top players from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia (1-4 October).
The host state won gold in the Women’s division, with the combination of Paralympians Meica Christensen and Nicole Esdaile with fellow national representative Raissa Martin proving too strong for New South Wales 10-4.
It was the perfect preparation for Meica and Raissa ahead of the 2015 IBSA Asia/Pacific Goalball Championships in China in November, where they will attempt to qualify the Australian women’s goalball team for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
The Queensland men’s team (Michael Sheppard, Jon Horsburgh and Mathew Eaton) claimed bronze in their division with a convincing 13-3 win over NSW. The three Queenslanders have also been selected to represent Australia in China as they try to qualify the national men’s team for Rio.
Western Australia won the Men’s gold medal with a thrilling 7-6 victory over Victoria. It was their second gold of the championships following their 4-2 win over NSW in the Junior division final.
NSW turned the tables on Western Australia in the Youth division final, winning another tight game 8-7.
Queensland’s first mixed junior goalball representatives Sean Kendrick, Tobias West, Melodie West and Kendra Brewer went down 6-4 to Victoria in their bronze medal play-off. The Queensland mixed youth team (Brendan Young, Patrick Perring, Joe Hogg, Grace West, Nathan Luke) were under-manned due to injuries but fought strongly and improved throughout the tournament.
Queensland players featured in both the individual and All Star Team honours:
Meica Christensen – Most Valuable Player, Highest Goal Scorer, All Star Team
Nicole Esdaile – All Star Team
John Horsburgh – Highest Goal Scorer
Michael Sheppard – All Star Team
Brendan Young – Most Valuable Player, All Star Team
The four-day event was hosted by Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association and featured around 200 players, coaches, officials and volunteers across the two competition venues, Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School and Bremer State High School.
For full results, visit www.sportingwheelies.org.au/agc15.