GB Women’s road to Tokyo hit an early bump as they suffered a narrow defeat in their opening match at the 2019 IBSA Goalball Paralympic Qualifier.

Great Britain took on Israel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, and went down 5-3 in a closely-contested game at Indiana Tech.

The top two teams at the Paralympic Qualifier will secure their place at Tokyo 2020 as 14 nations battle it out in two pools of seven, with the top four from each advancing to the quarter-finals.

That means GB have plenty of opportunity to turn things in pursuit of their third Paralympic appearance – having competed at Sydney 2000 and come sixth at London 2012 – but Rio 2016’s seventh-placed side Israel proved too strong on the opening day.

They raced into a 2-0 lead and although GB responded with a powerful throw and a goal that snuck into the net despite two defenders getting a touch to it, Israel scored a quickfire treble before half-time to lead 5-2 at the break.

After a slow start to the second period, the Brits got a goal back by bouncing the ball between two covering Israelis but couldn’t close the deficit further as the full-time buzzer went at 5-3.

GB will play their next two matches on Wednesday as they square off with Spain at 3.15pm UK time before facing China at 10.45pm.

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