Vision’s key account manager, David Bryant has refereed at the IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) World Games in Seoul, South Korea, in May.
Bryant commented: “A huge honour and an even bigger challenge were my immediate thoughts on being selected as the only British referee to officiate in the IBSA World Games. It was a real personal achievement as the athletic standard of B1 football is immense and the competitiveness is of no different standard than any other when the players get the international call of duty to wear the shirt of their country.”
The referees from Argentina, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Turkey and from the home nation of South Korea all assembled 2 days before the tournament started to attend briefings and referee training seminars. “This ensured that we all went into the group stages fully prepared and coached to handle the rigors of the demanding B1 environment and ensure consistency of decision making,” Bryant added.
He officiated in games including Russia versus Argentina and bronze medal play-off, China versus Spain. He reported: “The tournament had some thrilling moments; there was outstanding tactical game play and top level competition with astonishing individual player skill level and importantly gentlemanly conduct. There was a respect for opponents with ‘fair play and good game’ spoken throughout by every player and team official.”
Spain won the bronze, with the final being contested by England and Argentina. Argentina ended up winning the gold, but Bryant was proud of England’s silver medal. “My refereeing continues to offer me experiences I never realised were there, it provides me with so many new friendships and participation in a sport that is so passionate and disciplined,” he commented.