Sharkey excited by silent Copper Box
4:36pm Thursday 30th August 2012 in London Olympics 2012 - Latest News
GOALBALL player Anna Sharkey is looking forward to a unique atmosphere at the Paralympics when ‘the box that rocks’ falls silent.
The Copper Box staged the handball at the Olympics and the raucous atmosphere inside the compact arena earned rave reviews.
The scene will be rather different when goalball starts at the venue today. The sport is played between two three-a-side teams who aim to score by rolling the ball into their opponents’ goal. It is played by visually impaired athletes with eye masks using a ball with bells inside and so requires silence from spectators during play.
‘‘They call the Copper Box the box that rocks,’’ Sharkey said.
‘‘It’s going to be surreal, probably for the crowd more than for us on court.
‘‘I think we’re used to it being quiet on court. Playing the game, you’re very much in the zone.
‘‘I think if a goal is scored, to have this eruption of noise will be an elating feeling, but you need to absorb it and carry on in that controlled way you’ve been playing.
‘‘I think the crowd are in for a treat. Wouldn’t you love to be part of a crowd where you’ve got this sudden rush? It’s fantastic.’’ The 24-year-old, whose brother Michael is in the men’s team, will take to the court for the first time when Great Britain’s women play China tonight.
Britain have not had a goalball team in the Paralympics for 12 years and Sharkey, who was a European champion in 2009, is relishing the chance to expose the sport to a new audience.
‘‘To have more people know about it in this country will be a big deal,’’ she added.
‘‘I imagine there are lots of young visually impaired people out there who have no idea that there’s a team sport that exists for them, where they can play on an absolute equal playing field against other competitors.
‘‘Getting people to know the sport is a really valuable part of this.
‘‘Just to get the concept across is enough to start to put goalball back on the map.
‘‘It’s a very exciting time so watch this space.’’