IBSA WORLD GAMES
Vision's Key Account Manager, David Bryant was selected to referee in the IBSA (International Blind Sports Federation) World Games. The 2015 World Games took place in Seoul in May.
David explained his experience...
"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 in Seoul. 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 rigours of the demanding B1 environment and ensure consistency of decision making.
On arrival, Seoul is such an enormous city with over 10 million inhabitants and spectacular buildings to rival anywhere in the world. The South Koreans are a very friendly, humble and courteous race and I know I have made some very strong friends of my refereeing colleagues as well as the game organisers. We stayed in downtown Gangnam and travelled to the Olympic Park each day by Coach, through the never-ending stream of cars and traffic jams - thankfully never late!
The competition started on the Monday and by that time we were fully prepared and desperate for the competition to begin. Sunday evenings, we were called together to receive final guidance and importantly our fixtures for the first day. My game was Russia v. Argentina and my focus immediately was to think about my game plan. 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.
The tournament was intense and fiercely competitive throughout. The final day was the Gold medal game which was England v. Argentina and the Bronze medal game which was China v. Spain. I was delighted to be appointed to the China v. Spain game knowing that as England were through to the final that would be a game that I wouldn't be appointed to! Argentina came out as overall winners with the England team taking the silver medal and can feel justifiably proud of their great achievement and their onward trip to Rio 2016. Spain bagged the Bronze medal with a crucial late goal.
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."