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Canadian goalball stars count on the “6th Sense” when they try to earn a Paralympic medal in Tokyo

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Canadian goalball veterans count on the "6th sense" as they strive for an elusive medal at the Paralympics in Tokyo

Whitney Bogart and Amy Burk have a chemistry that transcends sight, hearing, and touch. They are able to sense where each other is when they play goalball, a sport for visually impaired athletes.

Burk said that they also feel the same way. This bond took Team Canada 15 years to create and hundreds of hours. They may not be chasing the podium together, but that connection could prove to be crucial.

Burk, originally from Charlottetown PEI, is a team captain and also one of most skilled attacking players in the country. It’s amazing. It’s almost like having a sixth sense.

Burk, Bogart and others joined Team Canada in 2005 to expand their Paralympic gold medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.

They have been trying to win a Paralympic gold medal ever since, but they keep failing.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered their training plans, Bogart still has the chance to succeed in retreating with great success at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Bogart, 35 years old, from Marathon, Ontario, said that Tokyo could be the last Paralympic Games. “Although the games were delayed, we gave it all this year and did everything necessary to win this medal in Tokyo.

Goalball is an exclusive sport for visually impaired athletes. It is one of two Paralympic sports that has no Olympic equivalent.

The area is the same size as a volleyball court and has two football nets that extend the entire width. They score by kicking a ball into a net using a bowling motion, and defend their position by blocking shots from opponents with their bodies.

Goalball is played in a small area, similar to a volleyball field. The nets are football-style and extend the entire field. Teams score by kicking a ball into a net using a bowling motion. They defend their position by blocking opponents’ shots with the bodies. (Getty Images).

Blackout visors are worn by all players to keep the playing area level. The ball, which is approximately the same size as a basketball but weighs 1.25 kilograms, has bells inside it to aid players in finding it during play. A tactile marking on the square helps athletes navigate.

Goalball can be played in total silence. But, you are allowed to cheer when the game gets interrupted.

Trent Farebrother (Team Canada head coach) said, “I think that we’re going to shock some people.” “Our strength lies in our offensive play but we have worked hard to improve and coordinate our defensive alignments and positioning.”

Canada won bronze at the 2019 Parapan-Am Games in Lima, Peru, and narrowly finished the medals with fourth place at the 2018 World Championships in Malmö, Sweden.

Burk was on maternity break for the World Cup. That gave Emma Reinke (St. Thomas Ontario), a chance to be big. Reinke was third with 24 goals in the tournament and will be a major part of the Canadian attack in Tokyo.

This year’s Paralympic Team is balanced. Veteran Meghan Mahon (Timmins Ontario) will be returning for their second games, while rookie Brieann baldock (Edmonton Alta.) will be joining them. And Maryam Salehizadeh (Vancouver, BC). Complete the list.

Baldock praised Bogart and Burk for their mentoring.

Farebrother stated, “We will depend on the veterans.” “How well we do will depend on how many other players can play…we’re there for the win so we’ll follow whoever does the best.”

He considers Brazil, Turkey and an elite group of Russian Paralympic Committee athletes (RPC), the top competitions in Tokyo. However, he also noted that there are other threats to the podium.

He stated that there were eight to nine potential medal-winning teams.

Whitney Bogart and Team Canada will be competing in Pool A alongside Australia, China and Israel, as well as the Russian Paralympic Committee. (Marta Iwanek / Getty Images)

Canada competes with Australia, China (RPC), and Israel in Pool A. Pool B is made up of Turkey, Brazil and Egypt as well as the United States and Japan.

Burk said, “I think our mindset has reached the right place.” “I think that our team fully believes and supports our goal. Everybody has total confidence in each other, and our mental state is much better than before.

She stated, “I think that used be to hold us back.” “Yes, we have the chance to play against larger teams, but we never had the mental side of it.”

Paralympic expectations are a common concern for both Burk and Bogart, as they have been in the past.

Bogart stated, “This is probably where I want it most than my last two games.” “I don’t know what it is about Tokyo, but I do not know. This medal is my dream.”

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