Meet Dina Murdie, a legend of Goalball

Dina receiving an award off Prince Edward at the Torch Trust Trophy foundations Credit: The Malvern Observer

Eight Paralympic games, one Olympic games, a medal of honour from the Queen – these are just some of the highlights of Dina Murdie’s outstanding career in sport.

Now working for Goalball UK, a sport specifically for the visually impaired, Murdie still continues to have a massive influence up and down the country, including the North West for clubs like Lancashire Lions.

Goalball is a three side game where players attempt to roll the ball into the opposition net from 12 metres. A bell inside the ball helps the other team detect where the ball is to try to stop them scoring.

The match lasts 20 minutes with two 10-minute halves.

Formerly a school teacher, Murdie, now 76, was first introduced to Goalball in the early 80’s where she was involved with the first women’s team in Great Britain.

In 1986 she led her women’s side to a bronze medal at the World Championships in Holland, meaning they qualified for the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul.

She said: “It was a fantastic experience. I couldn’t believe I was there really, we were in this amazing stadium and we all lined up and we all trooped in and circuited the stadium, we lived in this big village with amazing little apartments that we had.

“We took five players and two coaches which were me and a girl called Nicki and guy who taught us. Clive was out there as a referee.”

Since then, Murdie has been to every single Paralympic games in one way or another, firstly as coach and then moving into officiating.

Despite being to many games, Murdie admits that the London games in 2012 were her favourite where she was a referee.

Speaking about her most memorable moment, she said: “The game ended in a draw and went to extra throws.

“There were six in each team and it ended 3-3 so it went to sudden death extra throws and on the third throw Japan scored and Sweden didn’t, so they won.

“Things like that just stay in your mind and a thing I can remember is that there were two referees on a game and at the end of normal time the other ref came over and she was in a real panic saying what do we do now?

“And I said you do the far side defence end and call score and as long as she did that then we were OK.” 

In 2018, Murdie was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work with visually impaired people which is now past the 50 year mark.

Murdie said: “Goalball UK put me forward but I’d also been very heavily involved in swimming and in skiing for the visually impaired. So, I could bring together these people and say thankyou for what they had done and what we had all done for sport for the visually impaired.”

Despite her successes, Murdie still thinks a lot more can be done for Goalball and awareness for the visually impaired in general and will continue to work to the best of her abilities to do just that.