Cambridge para-athlete doctor to represent Great Britain at Goalball World Championships
Sarah Leiter, who is a NHS paediatrician from Cambridge, has been selected to compete for Great Britain at the upcoming IBSA Goalball World Championships.
The championships, which are one of three qualifying opportunities for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, are set to take place in Portugal from the December 5-17.
Leiter, 32, has a visual impairment but this has not stopped her working within the NHS while representing her country at goalball.
Alongside competing in the Goalball UK Super League with the Cambridge Dons and Queen Bees, she is now looking forward to her first World Championship as part of the Great Britain Women's squad.
She said: “I am super excited about the upcoming World Championships. This will be my first time competing at a World Championship and we have been working hard as a team since our qualification.
“The other ladies on the GB Women’s team and coaches have been amazing at providing support and motivation.
“Training is going well. We have been working on some specific technical skills both as a team and individually. I have been busy in the gym as well.”
The British 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 Leiter has solid support.
She said: “The biggest challenge is always balancing my work as a paediatrician with my goalball training and competitions. I am lucky to have supportive employers, managers and colleagues who make it possible.”
Gary Fraser, who is the 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.