Blind sportsman takes on 170-mile charity cycle ride

Sheffield Goalball player, Anthony O' Keefe will riding the 170 miles of the Way of the Roses
Sheffield Goalball player, Anthony O' Keefe will riding the 170 miles of the Way of the Roses
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A blind Sheffield sportsman is taking on a 170-mile bike ride to raise money for his club.

Sheffield Goalball player Anthony O’Keefe will be riding the Way of the Roses this summer.

Goalball, originally devised as a rehabilitation programme for injured soldiers returning from the Second World War, was one of the hits of London 2012 with crowds cramming into the Copper Box to support the men and women’s teams.

Goalball UK is aiming to raise £5,000 to help support existing clubs and fund new ones to meet growing demand.

Each player will ride tandem with a fully sighted team-mate on the gruelling route.

The group includes the whole spectrum of abilities with a 13-year-old novice player cycling alongside members of the men and women’s GB squads.

Goalball is played with raised markings on the floor so players can detect where they are.

Blindfolds are used to ensure an even playing field as players locate the ball through sound.

In the past two years alone, the number of active clubs has soared from 18 to 30 across the country.

Setting off from Morecambe on the August 3, Anthony, who plays for South Yorkshire Goalball club, will pass through the Yorkshire Dales, Ripon and York before reaching the end of the three-day challenge in Bridlington on August 6.

Anthony said:“Everyone involved in Goalball is tremendously dedicated to the sport.

“We want as many people as possible to be playing which is what this fundraising is all about.

“We’re training hard and, despite the nerves, are very excited!

“It’s a beautiful route and we can’t wait to get on our bikes.”