Wikinews interviews Tyan Taylor, Australian goalball player

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 London, England— Yesterday, following a three–nil loss to the United States, Wikinews interviewed Tyan Taylor of Australia's national goalball team.

Tyan Taylor, APC publicity shot
Image: Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

The sport was created in 1946, exclusively for people with a visual disability and, designed to help with the rehabilitation of veterans returning from World War II. Play in the Paralympics consists of two twelve-minute periods, with a three minute break between halves. Players are blindfolded to ensure all are equally visually handicapped on-court; and, the game can be stopped to ensure goggles are properly fitted. Standing in front of a long goal, they throw the ball at the opposition team's net who in turn try to block it by listening to the ball, which contains a bell, and using their bodies to prevent the ball from going in. The audience is asked to remain silent during play.

Australia went into their match against the US having lost 1–3 to both Japan and Canada. They have one game left to play at the London Paralympics against Sweden, who have lost 1–5 to the United States, tied Japan 0–0 and beaten Canada 2–1.

Interview transcript

((Laura Hale)) You guys weren't expecting to qualify. The APC [Australian Paralympic Committee] has been developing you [the team, for Rio]. Are you happy with the fact? Do you feel prepared for Rio?

Tyan Taylor: Yes, the APC's, for us, [planned] development for Rio. That's what they have as the goal, to make us qualify for Rio. So it was a bit of a spanner in the works when we qualified for London; but, it's been a massive experience here for us and we have stepped up from qualifying in Sydney in November to where we are now, to God know where we're going to be for Rio. We are all pumped and excited for our team just to keep developing.

((WN)) Two of you were dating, or involved with, men on the national team. Were they here to watch you?

TT: Yes! We've got some of our Aussie men as supporters in the crowd. Meica's husband and Nicole's husband as well. And we have our first mate Robbie, he's also part of the men's team. They've been with us and they've been supporting us since pretty much the start, so we're doing it on behalf of them as well.

((WN)) I know that some of your players look shattered, but do you guys feel the importance? You're the first Australian team to actually qualify on your own to enter the goalball programme.

TT: Yeah! I mean, some team members tried qualifying for Beijing, unfortunately we were unsuccessful. So, I think, some of us having only played the sport for three years and to qualify for London is just a massive achievement. We are grabbing every opportunity that we can, and putting everything on the table for each game.

((WN)) Are you going to try playing more international competitions, so you don't have that big lag like you did last time?

TT: Hopefully, we get more international competitions, exposure - I suppose - with that, but we've grown so much with the little amount of international exposure we've had so I think we're going to take it and roll with that.

((WN)) You're going to get a medal in Rio?

TT: Hopefully we'll medal! We always look for the medals but you never know what is going to happen, so…

((WN)) Are you enjoying your time here?

TT: Yes! Absolutely loving it! Awesome! The crowd are just insane! It's great. We are all having an absolute awesome time.

((Laura Hale)) Do you have anything else you'd like to share with with us? ((Hawkeye7)) Like the [mismatched] yellow and green socks as a fashion statement?

TT: Yeah! Yellow and green socks are… Meica in our team started that fashion. So we thought we'd all. The green and the gold.

((WN)) On a strategy thing, the US team stood up most of the time, but do you intentionally play differently, or is it just a style preference?

TT: For some people it's a style preference. For some… I guess it's more of a style preference. We all stand up between penalties but each to their own really in competitions like this.

((WN)) It's exceptionally fun to watch, having never seen this sport before. Thank you very much.

TT: That's alright!

((Hawkeye7)) Good luck with Rio!

TT: Thank you very much.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.