Goalball UK this weekend announced the winners of it’s end of season awards.
This includes the Goalfix Player of the Year and the Goalfix Club of the Year awards.
This year the awards focused on those who made a big contribution to their communities and teams during the pandemic.
The last 20 months has brought with it numerous challenges, with the lack of competitive sport just one of them.
The awards this year provide an opportunity to say a big thank you to those who have used their time away from competitive sport to help others through this difficult period.
Goalfix Goalball Club of the Season
Russell Warnock, founder of Goalfix, said: “I would like to offer our congratulations to Cambridge Dons as the winner of this year’s Goalfix Club of the Year. Well done on your achievements during a challenging stop-start year.”
The Goalfix Club of the Season award is the latest addition to Goalball UK’s end of season awards. This award celebrates the monumental effort made by clubs up and down the country during what has been a difficult season due to the pandemic.
Despite not being able to play goalball competitively in the last 12 months, Cambridge Dons used the time away from the court as an opportunity to grow the club.
The team worked closely with Goalball UK to achieve their affiliation to the organisation. They have also proactively ensured more members of the club completed safeguarding and inclusion training.
The Cambridge Dons organised a wide variety of online social events during times when restrictions were at their tightest. These offered a fun and engaging way for players from Cambridge and further afield to stay connected. They also engaged club members in a stepping challenge to motivate people to stay active in the second lockdown.
The club was also one of the first to return to play when the lockdown measures were lifted. Cambridge Dons followed the guidance faultlessly to provide a safe environment for training to resume. Once up-and-running, the club also invited players from other clubs to join the session if their club was unable to resume.
First goalball club recognised
Speaking about winning the Goalfix Club of the Season Sarah Leiter, a player and club secretary for the Cambridge Dons, said: “We are truly honoured to be the first club to be recognised as the Club of the Season.
It is a testament to the community we have built around the sport we love. We are so grateful for all the support from our volunteers and club members. However, a special thanks to our chair and founder Warren Wilson who hosted many memorable online socials. To win the award a week after the first post-Covid tournament took place in Cambridge is just marvellous!”
Dina Murdie, the chair of the Clubs and Competitions Committee, said: “Cambridge Dons impressed all of the committee over the last 12 months for many reasons. But most importantly their supportive and welcoming nature was brilliant to witness.
They were at the forefront of reaching out to potentially vulnerable members of the community. They went above and beyond to keep everyone connected at what was a scary and isolating time for many.
Their passion for the sport is clear. When the restrictions were lifted they acted swiftly to resume training, not only for their own players, but anyone that could make it for a session.”
Goalfix Goalball Player of the Season
Tracy Compton is the Goalfix Player of the Season 2020/21. As part of the prize, Tracy will receive a bundle of goalball equipment from Goalfix.
Russell Warnock, founder of Goalfix, said: “I would like to offer our congratulations to Tracy as the winner of this year’s Goalfix Player of the Year. Well done on your achievements during a challenging stop-start year.”
Despite the London Elephants stalwart not being able to get on the court in the last 12 months. Tracy has been an incredibly active and ever-present member of the goalball community during this difficult period.
Her engaging personality and positive outlook meant the weekly workout sessions she hosted were a massive hit. She was also an integral figure officiating the virtual goalball tournament, lifting spirits with her guide dog Sandy.
Throughout the pandemic, Tracy continued to be engaged with the activities that Goalball UK promoted. From the 5K Day to fundraising during last year’s Two Point Six Challenge.
Tracy’s overall commitment to the sport has not gone unnoticed either. She is often on social media raising awareness about goalball and its benefits alongside her London Elephant’s teammates. She is also a Goalball Ambassador for her work promoting the sport within her community.
Reward for going above and beyond
Speaking about winning the Goalfix Player of the Season, Tracy said: “I am absolutely speechless and gobsmacked to win this award.
The sport means so much to me. It’s really helped my communication skills, ability to travel and my confidence. That is why I am always so eager to get involved, to give back and encourage everyone to join in with me
Over the years playing goalball, my teammates and the community have always inspired me, so being without this for so long now has been difficult. However, it has made me really appreciate the sport even more. To say I am excited about getting back playing is an understatement!
Finally, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone that nominated me and to The Clubs and Competitions Committee for selecting me for this award.”
Dina Murdie, the chair of Goalball UK’s Clubs and Competitions Committee, said: “We are delighted to present this award to Tracy.
Over the last year she has truly embodied the spirit of the goalball community. She has gone above and beyond to be there for as many people as she can. Always putting a smile on all of our faces along the way.
Everyone that has had the pleasure to meet Tracy in person knows that she lives and breathes goalball. And while we have been unable to enjoy her performance on the court this year with the London Elephants, her levels of enthusiasm for the game have not wavered.”
The Keith Lound Service to Sport Award
The third award of the evening went to Dave Potter. He has been awarded the coveted Keith Lound Service to Sport Award to recognise his commitment and outstanding service to goalball over the past 25 years.
During this period, Dave played an important role establishing and growing the Rochdale and Scarborough goalball clubs. His dedication has given countless opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to experience the sport.
Dave was often found transporting the goals around the country to tournaments, alongside the players from Rochdale. While at the competitions, he was equipped with a pen and paper to keep up with the latest scores and results.
Dave was on the BBS Goalball Committee for many years and was heavily involved with the transition to Goalball UK. He was a member of the Club and Competitions Committee (The CC). This helped the sport to grow in the early days of Goalball UK.
Dave’s involvement with goalball is now behind him, but he still puts in the occasional appearance at tournaments – purely as a fan.
Congratulations from Goalfix
Russell Warnock, founder of Goalfix, said: “I would like to offer our congratulations to all the winners of this year’s awards. Well done on your achievements during a challenging stop-start year. I would also like to acknowledge the drive and commitment of everyone involved in goalball across the UK. This includes the coaches, players, parents, carers and everybody at Goalball UK who have worked so hard to maintain communication and support over the last twelve months. The national game is in a good place and there is much to look forward to.”
Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball UK, said: “In what has been a difficult year due to the pandemic, it has been great to be able to showcase the wonderful people we have involved in the goalball family. Congratulations to each of the winners. I would also like to pass on my sincere thanks to Russ at Goalfix for their support in these awards.”
Goalfix Sports is a specialist supplier of adaptive sports equipment, supplying a full range of IBSA approved goalball equipment.