National Goalball team calls Turnstone home, facility has Paralympic hopes

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The U.S. Mens Goalball Team is calling Turnstone home–literally. Officials broke ground Friday on a housing project for the team. The facility’s next goal– to become a Paralympic training site.

Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities is already the training ground for the Mens National Goalball team– a sport for the visually impaired. During a site visit Friday, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee said Turnstone has what it takes to be a fully certified Paralympic training facility.

The housing project will consist of two houses that will house the team and other athletes passing through for things like training and camps. The projects will cost about $400,000

“It’s going to allow our Goalball athletes to be within walking distance of the Goalball Center of Excellence [at Turnstone],” Turnstone CEO Mike Mushett said.

Teams compete in the Goalball National Championship at Turnstone's Plassman Athletic Center on Saturday.
Teams compete in the Goalball National Championship at Turnstone’s Plassman Athletic Center on Saturday.

This weekend Turnstone hosted the Goalball National Championships. The goal of the game is to get a three-pound ball into the opponent’s net using audio and tactile markings on the groud as defense.

“At the professional level with the men’s team we are throwing the ball at an average speed of about 40 miles per hour,” Goalball national team member Abel Del Toro said. “We are advanced enough that we can move freely around on the court.”

Del Toro is the youngest member on the national team. He will be one of the players using the houses on Turnstone’s grounds. He, along with Paralympic athletes and members of the U.S. Olympic Committee, attended the groundbreaking.

Right now Turnstone is one of ten Gold Level Paralympic Sports Clubs in the country. It’s applying to become a full Paralymic training site.

“When we share the Olympic rings or the Paralympic mark it’s a very important mark worldwide so we do require that partnership to do a fair amount of work,” U.S. Olympic Committee Member Alicia McConnell said.

Goalball has boosted Del Toro’s confidence, and has made him aim for the Paralympic games.

“Goalball has shown me that if I can walk around without a cane and a blindfold on, and manipulate sound and attack sound and a sound source coming at 40 miles per hour then I could definitely detect a car and can definitely detect people,” Del Toro said.

The houses should be move-in ready by September. Turnstone will find out if it has become a Paralympic training site by the end of the year or early 2017.

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