Romario says Brazil should be “target” of opponents in goalball



Romario throws the ball during training at the Paralympic CT | Photo: Ale Cabral/CPB

One of the highlights of the Brazilian men’s goalball team in the unprecedented successful campaign at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, player Romário Marques, 32, started 2022 in preparation for the two main competitions of the sport this year: Americas Championship and the World Cup.

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The Americas Championship will be played at the Paralympic Training Center, in São Paulo, between the 15th and 22nd of February. Before the competition, the Brazilian men’s and women’s teams will undergo a training phase, also at the CT, from January 22nd to 30th. The goalball World Cup is scheduled for June, in Hangzhou, China.
In this interview, Romário, who lost his sight at age 8 due to retinitis pigmentosa, spoke about the challenges that the Brazilian team must face this year, even more so after the gold medal at the Tokyo Games. For the athlete, the other teams will “study” Brazil better because of the success in Japan. Check out what the player said about the two tournaments and the preparation for the competitions:

What are your expectations for the Americas and World Championships?

Expectations are the best possible. We have a very cohesive and strong group, both mentally and physically. In the Americas Championship, we know that, on the other side, there are also qualified teams, such as the USA and Canada. It’s going to be a high-level and well-fought competition. Regarding the Worlds, I believe it is one of the fiercest competitions that exists today. Even more than the Paralympic Games, as there is extra pressure to get a spot in the next Games, which will take place in Paris.

And how has the Brazilian team been preparing for such challenges?

As soon as the Tokyo Games ended, we started preparing for the Paris Games. In goalball, we don’t usually prepare specifically for each championship. It’s all part of the Paralympic cycle. The Americas Championship and the World Cup are part of this cycle. About the Worlds, I can say that it is a competition that will demand a lot from our physique, as it will be two matches a day.

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Because Brazil is the current Paralympic champion, do you believe that there will be a different attitude from the opponents in relation to the Selection?

For sure, the other teams will “study” Brazil more. We have a versatile and dynamic goalball with a compact defense. So I think the challenge for the other teams will be to beat us. Therefore, we must have an intense training routine, with two to three training sessions a day when we meet.

Finally, is there a difference in preparation between the Tokyo and Paris cycles?

People are always looking for new goals. The important thing is to be physically fit, without forgetting about tactics, which is also very important. We have to constantly seek innovation in our training. On a daily basis, we work hard and “sweat blood” to try, step by step, once again, to be at the highest place on the podium in the tournaments that lie ahead.

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