7:00am Friday 18th November 2011
By Paul Rogers
HEREFORD tutor Tony Larkin had his best lesson to date when he met global superstar David Beckham.
Tony, a former Hereford United defender, took his Great Britain Blind Football team players to Los Angeles for a day’s training with the former England captain.
The players, who are based and train at the city’s Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), met the LA Galaxy player to promote blind football in the USA and the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder even wore a blindfold to experience what it is like to play as a visually impaired player.
The trip was organised by Sainsbury’s as part of Beckham’s sponsorship deal with the supermarket chain.
He is the brand’s ambassador for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and is involved in its One Million Kids Challenge, which is aimed at getting all school children to have a go at a Paralympic sport.
The Great Britain Blind Football team was in Hereford at the weekend and has now started training for next year’s London Paralympic Games.
Members took a break when they travelled to Wembley on Tuesday night to receive England caps at half-time in the England v Sweden friendly.
Some of the players were even seen on ITV1 during the interval bending down to touch the famous pitch.
Tony’s team finished fourth at the IBSA World Blind Football Championships in August last year, which was watched by nearly 9,000 people at thePoint4.
The event gave a £1million boost to the Hereford economy and BBC Radio 5 Live broadcasted its flagship Saturday morning Fighting Talk programme live from the venue.
Next April, Hereford will be hosting a four-country tournament involving the host nation, Brazil, China and Spain at thePoint4 in preparation for the Paralympics.
Beckham, meanwhile, has a big match of his own this weekend as he is due to play for LA Galaxy in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup final against Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
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