Goalball is a game played predominantly by blind and visually impaired athletes, and over many years the Pattaya School for the Blind has produced a host of players who have gone on to play at an international level.
It is a game played with three players on each team, and the idea is to propel a large rubber ball from one end of a sports court into a goal at the other end. Servers and defenders are all blindfolded and inside the ball is a small bell so the athletes can hear when the ball is coming towards them.
In the list of world rankings the Thai male team is 27th and the female team are 21st and training takes place most evenings at the school. A regular visitor to the school, Greg Scott, is the coach of the Queensland state team in Australia and he recently visited again to host training sessions for the students, accompanied by two Australian national team players.
By coincidence two athletes from the Pattaya school have recently returned from Down Under after competing in an international Goalball competition, and they had played, and lost, against the two visiting athletes, so it was a reunion of old friends. Once the sessions was over one Aussie athlete revealed a gift he wanted to present to the school, a didgeridoo, the traditional Australian instrument and something the students had never heard before.
The noise reverberated around the buildings, bringing silence to the school as more than one hundred students stopped to listen to the new sound.