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Arthur resident inducted into OBSA hall of fame

Hall of Fame - Helena Rooyakkers of Arthur was inducted into the Ontario Blind Sports Association hall of fame during its gala on Nov. 11. Rooyakkers, second from right, is a two-time bronze medalist in the Paralympic Games and a five-time Canadian champion in goalball.   Submitted photo

Arthur resident inducted into OBSA hall of fame

by Olivia Rutt

ARTHUR - Helena Rooyakkers of Arthur was inducted into the Ontario Blind Sports Association Hall of Fame recently.

Rooyakkers played goalball for 12 years and received two bronze medals with the national women’s team at the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games and 1992 Barcelona Paralympics. She was a member of the Ontario women’s goalball team and won gold at the Canadian Championships five times.

Rooyakers was among three athletes honoured at the OBSA hall of fame gala on Nov. 11 in Brantford.

“It was good; it was an honour to be there,” she said.

“Helena is an extremely dedicated and accomplished individual,” said Randa Gohary of the OBSA.

Rooyakkers  worked for 20 years at W. Ross McDonald School for the Blind as an intervener for deaf-blind individuals in Brantford. It was during that time she was encouraged to play goalball.

“It just looked like something that was fun to try,” she said.

“The woman that was the coach at the time, I was working with her as well, so she kind of encouraged me to give it a try and I liked it.”

Goalball is a team sport that was originally developed for the rehabilitation of Second World War veterans who were visually impaired, explained Rooyakkers.

December 8, 2017


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