The US men’s and women’s goalball teams will put experienced squads on the floor this July as they attempt to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the home International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball and Judo International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, from 2-9 July.
A total of nine Paralympic medallists – four on the men’s team and five on the women’s squad – will battle with an international field at the Turnstone Center and the Indiana Institute of Technology.
Three-time Paralympic medallists Asya Miller and Lisa Czechowski will lead the women’s team. Both are five-time Paralympians, having claimed medals together at Athens 2004 (silver), Beijing 2008 (gold) and Rio 2016 (bronze).
They will be joined by three of their bronze-medal winning teammates from Rio: Amanda Dennis, Eliana Mason and Marybai Huking. Rounding out the women’s team is Shavon Lockhardt, with Ali Lawson serving as the alternate.
“To have the opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Paralympic Games in front of our friends and family is a dream come true,” said US women’s coach Jake Czechowski. “The team is training hard and will be ready to defend our home court.”
Rio 2016 silver medallists Tyler Merren, John Kusku, Joseph Hamilton and Andrew Jenks will be joined by Calahan Young and Joshua Welborn to form the US men’s team.
Merren is a three-time Paralympian, having also won a bronze medal in goalball at Athens 2004.
“It’s a very unique privilege to have the opportunity to represent the USA on our home soil,” men’s coach Matt Boyle said. “I am sure the men who have been selected will not disappoint.”
Sixteen men’s and 16 women’s teams are expected to participate in the IBSA Goalball and Judo International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, with the top two teams in each gender not already qualified for Tokyo 2020 earning berths to next year’s Paralympic Games.