To demonstrate the amazing things a person with aniridia can achieve, we interviewed one competing at their 3rd Paralympics in Tokyo. Amanda is part of Team USA, hoping to better her USA Women’s Goalball team’s bronze medal won in 2016.
In the women’s group games the USA team started by beating Brazil, 6 goals to 4. Amanda scored three of these.
Amanda scored 4 of the 10 goals in the next match to beat Egypt without conceeding any!
2 goals by Amanda were not enough to beat Japan. 3-2 was the final score.
USA beat reigning Paralyimpic gold medalists Turkey 4-3 in the last group game. Amanda scored two of these, one as a penalty.
The team ranked 2nd in the group after Turkey, secure a quater-final place. Both teams only lost one of their four group games but Turkey scored more goals.
In the quarter final against the Russians (winners of the last championships in 2018), Amanda scored 2 of the 5 goals to progress to the semi-final. On Instagram afterwards Amanda wrote:
“We had the choice a few days ago to choose a more comfortable route that we know well for our semi-finals or to STEP UP and take the road less travelled. We chose to rise to a huge challenge.
We are a team that is RESILIENT! We came back from behind three times and took the reigns to control our own game and fate to beat the reigning WORLD CHAMPIONS!
We came to this tournament as underdogs after our finish at the 2018 World Championships. We’re showing the world what we can do here, what we have been training for, and we have the amazing opportunity to show our country and the world our amazing sport”
The semifinal match against Brazil, was in dramatic fashion.
The U.S. offense was stymied by the Brazilians for the first 21 minutes of the 24-minute game until Amanda Dennis finally put a ball in the back of the net with 2:28 left on the clock to pull the U.S. within a goal at 2-1.
With under 20 seconds remaining and possession of the ball, U.S. Head Coach Jake Czechowski called timeout to strategize possibly the final throw the Americans would have, and he put the ball in the hands of the team’s leading scorer…Dennis.Read more in the match report by United States Association of Blind Athletes
Dennis, who’s been thriving in pressure situations all tournament, came through in the clutch once again as she drilled a throw down the line past the Brazilian defense with 15.4 ticks on the clock to send the game into sudden-death overtime.”
They won the semi-final with extra throws. However, the dream came to an end at the gold medal match against Turkey. USA lost 9-2 to take an amazing very well deserved sliver medal. Amanda didn’t play in this game.
Tremendous congratulations her to all the players for the achievement and showing what’s possible wtih a visual impairments and aniridia.
Thanks also to interviewer Fern Lulham, a wonderful broadcaster and motivational speaker who has aniridia.
Here is a longer pre-Tokyo Paralympics interview with Amanda: