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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
impair ment ,” Simo n said.
The club gathers for tnightly in Maitland
for tr aining, a nd hopes to make it a
r egular Saturday occur rence nex t year.
Mat thew is an enthusiastic advocate
for Goalball, noting what a great
oppor tunity it is for anyone and
everyone to get active and make friends.
“Goalball has been great for my
confidence and I have made some
great friends, both at training and at the
championships. We really hope to get
the word out about the spor t in the
Newcas tle area ,” Matthew said.
To learn more, visit nswgoalball.com. au,
P Simon Smith on 0427 577 883 or
“ It’s all about quick reflexes,” Matthew Cameron
said as he described his new found love
“Basically the aim is to roll the ball into the
opponent goals, and defend your ow n goal
with your bodies, except that ever yone is
wearing a blackout blindfold and you have
to listen for the bells in the ball to judge
The spor t was established after World War
II as a way of socialising blinded war veter ans.
However, anyone can play the spor t as the
blackout masks create an even playing field for
any or no level of vision impair ment . Goalball
became a Par alympic spor t in 1967, and
Mat thew is aiming to make the men’s team for
the 2016 Paralympic Games .
The St Paul’s Booragul student, who has
begun his Higher School Cer tificate year, w as
diagnosed with Usher syndrome at the age of
two. This genetic condition results in hearing
impairment and Retinitis Pigmentosa, mo re
commo nly k now n as tunnel vision, meaning
Mat thew, 17, is progressively losing his sight.
Despite his impair me nt , Mat thew was blessed
with a natural athletic ability and was a keen
spor tsman from a young age. His father, Brian
Cameron, said sport was a huge part of
“He dabbled in a lot of spor ts growing up and
really loved cricket and soccer, but had to give
up both as his sight got worse. That is why we
became interested in Goalball,” Brian said.
“ We were introduced to Goalball this year by
Matthew’s suppor t teacher, Jennifer Chidgey-
Hayden. He went to a try-out day and loved it.”
Mat thew joined the NSW Goalball Association
in May this year and has since won a medal as
par t of the youth mixed team at the National
Championships, held in Adelaide in October.
“ My team was undefeated the whole way
through the competition and we beat
Queensland 13 points to 9 in the final,”
Maitland siblings Brodie, Aiden and Molly Smith,
who also suf fer from Retinitis Pigmentosa,
joined Mat thew at the Aus tr alian Goalball
Championships in Adelaide. Their father
Simon Smith runs the Hunter Branch of NSW
Goalball Association in Maitland and hopes to
spread the word around the Newcastle region.
“ The great thing about Goalball is that it’s
definitely a game for ever yone. At leas t half
of our regular Hunter players have no vision
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