David Beckham experiences blind football
David Beckham has been put through his paces as a blind footballer to promote Paralympic sport.
He was blindfolded and coached through a series of drills by Dave Clarke, who captained ParalympicsGB’s five-a-side football team at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Beckham, 36, a former England skipper, admitted that being without his sight and finding out how much skill and effort it takes to become a Paralympic athlete was a huge lesson.
“They are a real testament to the quality of our Paralympic athletes,” he said. “The character and determination they show by doing this every single day, makes me proud to be British.”
The LA Galaxy star is the new face of Sainsbury’s Million Kids Challenge campaign for the Paralympics in the hope of spurring youngsters on to healthier lifestyles. It aims to show the level of skill and commitment needed to take part in Paralympic sport.
Since April free Paralympic sports equipment has been donated to schools so that children of all ages can have a go at the Paralympic sports of five-a-side football, sitting volleyball and goalball.
Clarke said: “Spending a day training with a world football icon like David Beckham was a great experience we will never forget. This opportunity allowed our squad to showcase the skills and levels of concentration needed to participate in blind football at an elite level.
“With David’s support and through the Sainsbury’s Million Kids Challenge, we are encouraging much of the UK to experience Paralympic Sports for the first time.”
More than 6,000 schools have taken up the challenge so far and an estimated two million children have signed up to participate. Schools – which can sign up here – can also win rewards such as being involved in the Paralympic Torch Relay.