Georgina Bullen

Sports - Disability Sport

I am a 2012 Goalball Paralympian, help me get one step further and become a Paralympic medallist! #RoadtoRio

Goal

The money raised will go towards all of my training costs; my travel to GB training weekends, sports hall hire for throwing practice, gym membership, strength and conditioning sessions, etc. All of which are to help get me to our European Championships in Hungary in September which is part of the qualification process for Rio in 2016.

Background

Since the age of 5, I have been severely visually impaired, I've always been feircely independent so I attended mainstream schools, however, this meant that I struggled to participate in sports as no one wants the girl in their hockey team who can't see the ball! I had almost given up on the idea of sport altogether but when given the opportunity to go to a Paralympic Talent Identification day, I thought I'd give it one last go. From this I got selected straight onto the team at the age of 14. In the space of three and a half years I went from not knowing the sport, to being in the starting lineup of the GB team at the 2012 Paralympics and I am now seen as a senior player on the team despite my age and the fact that I've only been playing for 5 years. 

In the lead up to the Games, Goalball was the least funded sport in Paralympics GB, to the extent that we only trained in halls we could get for free, we paid for all of our individual training costs (travel, strength and conditioning, physio, etc) and we would often have camps where the team would sleep at players houses. Despite this, we have achieved many things, such as in 2009 we won the European Championships and in the 2012 Paralympics we reached the quarter finals, only getting knocked out on the golden goal rule. 

Now that we have had ALL funding withdrawn, we have been doing bucket collections, I'm organising a quiz, a gig and a nearly new sale in order to pay for our training weekends as a team. But as all the money raised goes to a central pot, I can barely afford to continue the sport without seeking your support.

Current Position

As well as my achievements since becoming a senior member of the GB women's Goalball team, I am also a starting line up member of the Leicester Bulls Elite Goalball team who are joint first in the domestic Elite League. This is especially impressive as the league is mixed sex, so I play against GB men's players in the league. 

I do some form of training every day, whether it is strength, fitness or Goalball specific, in addition to our training weekends, but this is becoming more and more difficult since the funding has been cut.

The Future

A short term goal is to continue my training for the European Championships in September as success there gives us a better chance of achieving my long term goal of qualifying for the Rio Paralympics. 

Beyond that, I hope to also reach the 2020 Paralympics. Without raising my target money, I will struggle hugely to afford to attend training weekends (as the train tickets for one weekend are £75), struggle to have strength and conditioning sessions, afford physio treatment and generally keep myself in prime condition for the upcoming qualifying tournaments.

Achievements

Getting selected for the squad in 2009. 

Being part of the team that won the European Championships in 2009. 

Competing at three further European Championships and one World Championships. 

Working my way up to the starting line up in two and a half years. 

Reaching the Quarter Finals at the 2012 Paralympics, only getting knocked out on the golden goal by, the now bronze medalists, Sweden, after only playing Goalball for three and a half years and being just 18 years of age.

Summary

I am a senior GB Women's Goalball player, a 2012 Paralympian and a Rio 2016 hopeful. All the funding for our team has been withdrawn and so we now not only have to raise the money to pay for our training camps, but we have to cover all individual training costs ourselves. 

Getting £1000 would mean that I could continue my training and put myself in the best possible position to try to qualify for the Rio Paralympics.