BLIND Worcester student Stuart Hudson has made his debut for the senior men’s Great Britain goalball team at an international competition in Finland.
Stuart lined up for the first time in the senior squad at the Pajulahti Games, the prestigious parasport competition.
His performances helped Great Britain to a sixth-placed finish as he starred in the opening match against the host nation and eventual winners, making two important saves.
The 17-year-old New College Worcester student was diagnosed with optic atrophy, nystagmus and squint, which resulted in him being registered blind from a young age.
Encouraged to continue being active and play sport, Stuart discovered goalball – the only team sport that has been specifically designed for people with a visual impairment.
Since picking up the sport aged nine, Stuart became a key player for his hometown club, Panthers Goalball Club. His potential was spotted early on and he was invited to join Goalball UK’s Talent Pathway, competing with Great Britain’s development squads at tournaments across Europe.
Speaking about being called up for the Pajulahti Games, Stuart said: “It was an incredible experience to join up with the men’s senior squad at an international tournament to get exposure against some really top goalball teams.
“Since I started playing goalball at nine years old, my progression through the ranks has been a bit of a whirlwind. The team at Goalball UK are fantastic at spotting and nurturing talent. It is a really exciting time for goalball in the UK, I hope to be a big part of the success we have moving forward and inspire visually impaired people to take up the sport.
Great Britain’s head coach Faye Dale said: “We were delighted to promote Stuart to the senior squad. We have been working with him for a few years now and it is clear he is one of the brightest talents we have.
“For someone so young, his levels of maturity are very impressive. If he continues to develop his skills there will be many more opportunities like this at the Pajulahti Games on his journey to becoming an elite goalball player.”