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Samba Rhythm To Sound Of Silence: The Dark Art Of Goalball

Tokyo, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th Aug, 2021 ) :Brazil emerge from their team bus singing, clapping and cheering.

The bronze medallists from the Rio Paralympics in 2016 are keyed up and in the mood to make some noise ahead of meeting silver medallists USA in Thursday’s big clash.

Banging their kit bags like drums they march to the dressing room in a cacophony of chanting.

But that all changes on the field of play — the sound of silence dominates.

Welcome to the unique world of goalball.

“One, two, three, let’s go USA!” scream their opponents as dance music booms around the Makuhari Messe Arena.

But once the referee announces: “Quiet please, play,” you can hear a pin, or a ball, drop.

Most sports in the Paralympics have an Olympic equivalent.

Not this one, where visually-impaired players try to score goals with a hard-rubber ball containing bells, while defenders rely solely on sound and instinct to make diving blocks and saves.

“Brazilians are widely known for their happiness,” said star player Leomon Moreno about his teammates’ Samba antics which saw them dance into the arena.

“Every moment, on the bus, in the village, and at the venue we are like this.

“But once we get on the field of play we focus, concentrate — in Portuguese we say ‘you turn the key’.”With the US holding a slim 3-2 half-time lead, the intensity grew to a crescendo in the second half of this pulsating battle of the goalball giants, with the lead changing hands several times.

Finally, it was the US team who fought back from 5-4 down to inflict a first defeat in five years, 8-6, on pre-tournament favourites Brazil.

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