aitlin-Hannen Williams (right) celebrates with her WA teammates, Savannah Zaknich and Ally.

Disability no barrier for goalball competitor

Goalball is a Paralympic sport invented just after World War II for returning soldiers with vision impairment.
July 27, 2023

VISION-impaired teenager Caitlin-Hannen Williams, of Stoneville, has won a silver medal in the 2023 IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) Goalball Youth World Championships in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Ms Williams (18), who represented Australia as part of the Aussie Tinkerbelles team, made it through to the grand final late last week, narrowly losing to Turkey.

Ms Williams’ mother Raquelle Williams, a development officer for Blind Sports WA, said three of the girls in the Aussie Tinkerbelles team were from WA.

“Goalball is a Paralympic sport and was invented just after World War II for returning soldiers with vision impairment,” she said.

“Two teams of three players each face each other across a court and the object of the game is to roll a basketball-size ball with bells inside it over the opponent’s goal line.

“Opponents listen for the oncoming ball and attempt to block it with their bodies.”

The team comprises six players and the three WA girls invested many hours training at Handa Hall at VisAbility in Victoria Park.

To celebrate her success, Ms Williams spent two days at Disney Land in California last weekend.


Ms Williams, who lost 95 per cent of her vision to optic neuropathy, left Mundaring Christian College last year after completing her Year 9 NAPLAN test in braille.

After her gap year, she is hoping to study acting at WAAPA or Psychology at a local university.

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