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Northumbria student represents Great Britain in Goalball World Championships

9th December 2022

Lois Turner, an Occupational Therapy student at Northumbria University, Newcastle, has been selected to compete for Great Britain at the IBSA Goalball World Championships. 

The championships, which are one of three qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, are taking place in Portugal from the 5th to the 17th of December 2022.

Lois, 25, has a visual impairment but this has not stopped her studying for her Master’s in Occupational Therapy at Northumbria University whilst representing her country at goalball.

Alongside competing in the Goalball UK Super League, Lois is relishing taking part in her first World Championship as part of the GB Women squad.

The World Championships sees the squad face tough competition from across the globe, but today they got off to a triumphant start beating Brazil 7-5 in their first group round game. 

Northumbria student to represent Great Britain in Goalball World Championships

In the run up to the championships, Lois Turner, GB athlete and Paralympic hopeful, said: “The preparation for the World Championships feels great. It’s a super exciting opportunity for us as a team to qualify for Paris 2024 and give it everything we’ve got”.

Solid teamwork is vital in goalball. Five of the GB Women players also compete in the Goalball UK Super League as the ‘Queen Bees’ to boost their playing time together in mixed competition.

Lois credits her friends and family for helping her to prepare for the competition: “During the preparation for the World Championships, I have started my master's degree as well as a full-time placement in a major hospital. It has been really challenging managing training and my studies, but my friends/family have been my rock supporting me with anything they can”, adds Lois.

The GB team are not paid professional athletes. They work and study alongside giving up weekends and annual leave to pursue their sport. This can be a challenge for even the most dedicated of athletes, but Lois has solid support.

“Time management with my studies and training has been my main obstacle in the run up to the World Championships. However, I have managed to get myself into a good routine where I am able to take full advantage of a dual career-based lifestyle and feel as prepared for the World Championships as possible,” said Lois.

Lois explained how Northumbria University has supported her dual career, “Both my placement and the lecturers at the University have been amazing at supporting me where possible, by adapting my placement hours or making up for missed time for international competition and training. This is a big part of managing my dual career as both my studies and being an athlete takes up a lot of my time. The University’s Scholarship Scheme has allowed me to have access to many extra training opportunities, strength and conditioning and sports hall facilities to be able to train around my studies”.

Gary Fraser, High Performance Lead for Goalball UK, said: “We are delighted to have qualified for the World Championships. The squad have worked incredibly hard and will be up against the best in the World in Portugal. We are bound to learn a lot from the competition which is one of the three qualifying opportunities for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

Goalball is a unique team sport played on a court with three-a-side. The aim of the game is to score goals into the net against the opposing team. However, all players wear blackout eyeshades and rely on their other senses to succeed such as by touch and sound. The goalball itself weighs over 1kg and has two bells inside so players can hear it.

Goalball UK will provide commentary and information on their Twitter channel throughout the competition with live streaming also available.

Find out more about the Occupational Therapy courses available at Northumbria University on their website.

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