Next July's International Blind Sport Federation European Goalball Championships in Kaunas have received a ringing endorsement from Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite.
The Baltic nation's first female leader has praised organisers and officially backed the event, which will mark the first time Lithuania has hosted a major continental championships in any Paralympic team sport.
'Until now we had „C-division Wheelchair Basketball European Championships and some non-Paralympic team sports championships," said Lithuanian Paralympic Committee secretary general, Gintaras Zavadckis.
"The IBSA Goalball European Championships will be the last voucher for goalball teams to qualify for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
"That is why IBSA Goalball European Championships in Kaunas is twice as important for us".
The Championships, which follow on from a 2014 B-division event in Budapest, will be extra important due to the Paralympic qualification opportunities on offer, as European nations build towards an assault on the sport's dominant Pan American powers on Brazilian soil in two years time.
They are being organised by the Lithuanian Blind Sports Federation and are set to take place from July 5 to 12, 2015.
Approximately 260 participants from 14 countries are due to compete, with Lithuania's men hoping to build on fourth-place finishes at both London 2012 and the 2014 World Championships in Espoo, Finland.
Russia will be favourites in the women's event following a World Championship silver medal in 2014, with opposition due to come from Turkey, Israel, Finland, Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Greece.
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