North Petherton man to represent England Blind football team at Paralympics

Robin Williams in action against Thailand. PHOTO: submitted

Robin Williams in action against Thailand. PHOTO: submitted

First published in Bridgwater Area News Bridgwater Mercury: Photograph of the Author by

A BLIND footballer from North Petherton says he can’t wait to represent England at the Paralympic Games on home soil this summer.

Robin Williams, 24, made his debut for England after he was scouted at a National Domestic Blind League match for Worcester in the summer of 2009.

The former North Petherton Primary School student had cancer in his retina and lost his eyesight completely when he was only two years old.

But the winger has not let this hold him back and has now featured 30 times for his country, combining a six-days-a-week training schedule with his studies at Exeter University as he completes a PhD in statistics.

Robin said: “I’m really excited to be a part of the Paralympics and it will be a proud moment for me to play for my country – I’m quite lucky really.

“I’ve got used to being blind now as I grew up with it, and I’m fortunate that I’m fairly academic and sporty.”

The Paralympic competition runs from August 31 to September 8 at The Riverbank Arena on the Olympic Park and all matches are shown live on Channel 4.

The world’s eight best blind football teams will battle it out with England facing Spain, Argentina and Iran in their group matches.

All players are blindfolded except the goalkeepers, who are not visually impaired, and the ball is filled with metal ball bearings so the players can hear it move and track it.

Robin, who has also represented Great Britain at junior level in swimming, said: “It will be the best quality blind tournament ever and in front of a lot of people.”

Robin is also hoping to run talks to raise awareness of blind football across the county – if you would be interested, contact him on rmw205@exeter.ac.uk

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