Posts by: Matt Huart

World Cerebral Palsy Day 2016

World Cerebral Palsy Day is a movement of people with cerebral palsy and their families in more than 50 countries, which this year takes place today on Wednesday 5th October 2016.

Held since 2012, originally as the ‘Change My World in 1 Minute’ campaign, the day is held on the first Wednesday of each October and is coordinated by the World Cerebral Palsy Initiative, a group of non-profit cerebral palsy (CP) organisations with a global vision to create real change for people living with CP.

Jonathan Adams, World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) director and ambassador, was born with CP which affects all four of his limbs, particularly on his left-hand side. He has not let this stop him from pursuing his dreams however, competing at the London 2012 Paralympics for Great Britain, as well as playing a key part in the development of the WDBS during the past 12 months.

On the playing side, we have too seen a number of players with CP take part, including Gloucester winner Daniel Blunn, who we recently featured during our classification guide for Group 3 players. Peter Hull from Uxbridge first joined us for the WDBS Manchester Classic, as well as Andy Johnson who took victory in the Group 4/5 event back in March.cpday1

A player who will be returning for the upcoming 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Andy Harper from St Helens. Known as ‘snookerfanatic’ on social media, he first fell in love with the sport back in 2001, watching the late Paul Hunter famously come back to win the first of his three Masters titles at Wembley.

He recently told us of the challenges of playing the game for somebody with CP, but how he has overcome these and the sense of achievement that he has gained as a result.

“I feel that for someone with CP, snooker is not one of the easiest sports to get into but is definitely one of the most rewarding,” said Harper. “The fundamentals of snooker are a strong bridge and a comfortable stance. These are difficult with CP and to achieve them requires a great deal of work off the table focusing on hand strength and inner core. The bridge especially took a lot of work and needless to say I became quite proficient with the spider.

“I now compete in the first division of the St Helens snooker league with able bodied players and to post the good results that I do has given me tremendous social confidence and satisfaction.”

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The 25-year-old is now looking forward to returning to Gloucester in less than a fortnight and reflected on his WDBS debut at last year’s edition of the event.

“It was great to be able to play on a level playing field and to see everybody enjoying themselves as much as they were,” said Harper. “There was a good atmosphere going and overall I would say that the event was top drawer. Everyone was really nice to each other, chatting and sharing a joke, but when we were at the table it was time to get the game going.”

The 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship takes place from 14-16 October 2016 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

You can learn more about World Cerebral Palsy Day at https://worldcpday.org/

Renishaw to Support Open Disability Snooker Championship

Next month’s 2016 WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship will be supported by Gloucester-based Renishaw plc, one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies.

As in 2015, the event will be held at the South West Snooker Academy and it promises to be the biggest staged by the WDBS to date, with a record amount of entries already received prior to this Friday’s deadline. The tournament will be the fourth to be staged by the WDBS, following events in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking during the last 12 months.

With the support of Renishaw, the WDBS are further pleased to announce that for the first time at one of its events, prize money will be offered for each of the three competitions (Groups 1-2, Group 3 and Groups 4-5), to be played during the weekend. Provisionally, this will be set at £75.00 for each group winner, with the runner-up to receive £25.00.

The entry deadline for the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship is Friday 30th September 2016, meaning that you have just four days to enter and be part of the action in Gloucester. For more information please download the entry pack.

Swail Supports WDBS

Two-time World Championship semi-finalist Joe Swail has offered his support to World Disability Billiards and Snooker and encouraged players to take part in upcoming events in Gloucester and Hull.

The Northern Irishman, who reached a career-high world ranking of number 10 during the 2001/02 season, was born partially deaf in both ears and says that his results are proof that a disability doesn’t have to hold people back.

“I would definitely encourage players to take part in WDBS events,” said Swail. “The most important thing for players is to enjoy it and if they have got a talent then they should have the chance to progress.

“I’m a firm believer that a disability shouldn’t hinder what you are going to achieve in life. I’ve been a professional for over 25 years now and my disability has never held me back.”

In fact, Swail is philosophical about the effects of his disability and the other related conditions that have developed in recent years, including tinnitus and vertigo.

“I have been partially deaf since birth and it is just one of those things that has deteriorated over the years. It has been a progression and there are connected conditions that have affected me in different ways, but I have learned to deal with it. It is a disability but it is the same as with a lot of other people who have other sensory impairments or physical impairments, you just learn to deal with what you have got, to reflect on the good days, appreciate it’s not the be all and end all, and move on with life which is what I’ve done.”

Photo of Joe Swail playing snooker

Rather than hinder his snooker career, for Swail his disability was one of the reason why he first took up the sport when he was approximately 12-years-old. His older brother Liam is fully deaf in both ears and himself was a talented snooker player, having hit 300 century breaks prior to his 16th birthday. Sadly he was not able to join Joe on the professional circuit following a serious road accident, but their shared passion for the sport was something that helped drive Joe to his achievements so far during his professional career.

“I got involved with snooker because I knew early on that I wouldn’t be able to do a ‘9 to 5’ job which would have required good hearing and patience. With snooker however the silent surroundings and requirement of concentration suited me. My mates were moving on with different things, moving to college and I knew I wouldn’t be capable or have the confidence to do that. But it was snooker that gave me a new lease of life.

“My brother was a fantastic snooker player and we competed against each other as kids. He would want to beat me and I would want to beat him. Unfortunately I lost a lot of games on the 6 foot table, but we spurred each other on and made sure that our disabilities weren’t going to stop us doing what we wanted to do.”

From both his own personal experience and that of his brother, the player nicknamed ‘the Outlaw’ believes that snooker is an ideal sport for people with hearing impairments:

“You are just playing a game that you both enjoy, you know how to play it, you know what you want to try and do and you don’t actually have to try and talk to people. It’s definitely a great hobby for deaf people to get involved with because they are playing the game that they love and they are having a bit of craic as well without having to engage in communication by speaking to one another because you are limited that way.”

The next WDBS event open to players with hearing impairments (group 8 players), will be the WDBS Hull Open from 11-13 November 2016. Read more and learn how you can enter now.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Five

Today resume our look at the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week our attention turns to the group five profile, the final group of the three encompassing ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 5 (profiles 16, 22-25, 29-30)

Profile 16: One upper limb is severely impaired.

Profile 22: Both arms slightly impaired or amputated below the elbow.

Profile 23: One leg has slight impairment.

Profile 24: One arm slightly impaired or amputated below the elbow.

Profile 25: Very short stature (at least 12 inches (30.5cm) shorter than average.

Profile 29: Severe to moderate weakness in both shoulders.

Profile 30: Severe to moderate weakness in trunk.

Together with groups three and four already covered in previous weeks, group five also applies to ambulant players (ie players who can walk) and is made up of six disability profiles (22-25, 29-30), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 16. Players falling under profile 16 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group five players.

At WDBS events held to date, group five players have competed together with group four players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group five are the least affected by their disability when playing across all groups

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Among the group five players to have taken part in WDBS events so far is Zena ‘Zee’ Latcham, a former three-time British Disability Snooker champion, who was involved in a car accident in 1985 that resulted in the amputation of her lower left arm.

Following this, she looked locally for disabled sports and in 1990 began to play snooker for the first time. More recently, she learned about the WDBS through social media and competed at her first event in Manchester earlier this year.

Open Disability Snooker Championship 2016

We have looked at five groups (1-5), with players from all now eligible to play at the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester next month. You can read more information about the event, including how to enter here.

Next week we turn to our group six classification which includes players with intellectual disabilities.

WDBS Partners With Special Olympics Network

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) is today delighted to announce a new partnership with Special Olympics Gloucestershire.

Photograph of group 6 players at South West Snooker AcademySpecial Olympics is an international organisation providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. WDBS is a subsidiary body of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and was created in July 2015 to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker.

The agreement will see the WDBS work closely with Special Olympics Gloucestershire on innovative new projects in the local area which will provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to play snooker. This will also include the support of the upcoming Learning Disability Snooker Festival at the WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship at the South West Snooker Academy on 14th October 2016.

The new partnership underlines the commitment of the WDBS to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to access high-quality sports coaching and competition programmes.

Chris Hornby, Sport Development Manager for the WPBSA said: “WDBS is committed to offering opportunities for all and as we started out in Gloucestershire at the South West Snooker Academy it is an ideal location for us to grow connections with other organisations.

Photo of the WDBS team“Active Gloucestershire has been very supportive of WDBS and especially looking at opportunities for us to offer snooker to people with learning disabilities. Hopefully this link with Special Olympics Gloucestershire can be the starting point for people with learning disabilities not only in Gloucestershire, but nationally to try, enjoy, compete and benefit from what the sport of snooker can offer.”

Jenny Rutter from Active Gloucestershire and regional Special Olympics Development Officer for Gloucestershire added: “We are delighted the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association is now part of the Special Olympics Gloucestershire network. Their ethos to provide inclusive activity and disability specific competition routes encompasses our aims.

“At the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, California, 115 athletes represented Great Britain earning 179 medals. None of the athletes who competed were from Gloucestershire.

“Special Olympics Gloucestershire is working to change this by creating partnerships between national governing bodies of sports, local organisations, community groups and sports clubs. We are forming a countywide network bound by one common goal: to create more opportunities for individuals with a learning disability to be active within their local community and compete in sport to the level they desire.”

To learn more about the Special Olympics visit their official website: http://www.specialolympics.org/

Hull to Stage WDBS Event

World Disability Billiards and Snooker will stage an event in Kingston-upon-Hull for the first time this November.

Click HERE to download the entry pack for the WDBS Hull Open

Tradewell

The Tradewell Snooker Club

The WDBS Hull Open will be open to players of classification groups 7-8 and will be played at the Tradewell Snooker Club, located in the East Yorkshire city which has been named as the UK City of Culture for 2017.

The main two-day competition will be held on 12-13 November 2016 and will be the second WDBS event open to players with either visual or hearing impairments, following the Woking Open in May. At that event, Hull’s Lee Douglas finished as runner-up in the group eight tournament and was one of three players from the city to take part.

As at previous events, there will also be an open day held on Friday 11 November, at which people with any disability are encouraged to try snooker and receive free coaching from accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches.

Entries for the event close on 4 November 2016.

Tradewell Snooker Centre features 14 full-size snooker tables (including one Star table), in addition to pool and darts facilities, with hot food served throughout the day.

Read about the WDBS Woking Open, our previous event held for groups 7-8 players.

WDBS Returns to Gloucester

The second WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship will take place on 14-16 October 2016 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

As in 2015, the main two-day weekend competition will be open to classification groups 1-5 as set out within the WDBS classification system. This includes those who have physical disabilities and are either ambulant or wheelchair players.

For the first time there will also be a Learning Disability Snooker Festival held from 10:00am on Friday 14 October. At this session people with learning disabilities (classification group six) will be able to get involved with fun games and competitions, receive coaching and also take part in a formal six reds competition.

As at previous WDBS competitions, there will also be an open day at which people with any disability are encouraged enjoy free practice and coaching from accredited WPBSA World Snooker coaches. This will start at 2:00pm, also on Friday 14 October.

Click HERE to download the entry pack for the groups 1-5 event

Click HERE to download the entry pack for the learning disabilities (group 6) event

One of the players looking forward to returning to Gloucester is Daniel Blunn, who won the Group 3 classification competition at the 2015 event.

“You could also see how well-run the event was and just what a great venue it was,” said Blunn “They have all been good but I remember that one in particular – and not just because I won! I could see that it was the start of something big.”

Players are to note that for a limited time only, a discounted room rate is available at the nearby Holiday Inn Express of £60.00 per night. To receive this rate, rooms must be booked no later than 30 days prior to the event.

The South West Snooker Academy provides world class practice and playing facilities, featuring Star tables fitted to World Snooker specifications. The venue is a WPBSA Accredited Centre of Excellence, the first of its kind in Europe.

For a re-cap of the 2015 tournament please click here.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Four

Today we continue to explore the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each of our events.

This week we look at the group four profiles, the second of three groups relating to ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 4 (profiles 14-15, 17-21, 27-28)

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 15: Able to walk, but only one side of body is non-affected.

Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired.

Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired.

Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, other leg less impaired.

Profile 20: Able to walk but both legs impaired slightly.

Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or amputated

Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.

Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty.

Group four is the second of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players who can walk) and is made up of eight disability profiles (15, 17-21 & 27-28), plus the ‘either/or’ profile 14. Players falling under profile 14 with orthosis/appliances will also be classified as group four players.

At WDBS events held to date, group four players have competed together with group five players in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players who fall under group four are less affected by their disability than group three players when playing across all groups

Player view

As was the case with group three featured last week, we have already seen a large number of group four players compete in the WDBS events held to date. Winners of the group 4/5 events include World Billiards player Raja Subramanian and the experienced Andy Johnson, while world wheelchair darts champion Ricky Chilton was also involved in Manchester.

Another who made his debut in our second event was Joe Hardstaff, an IT teacher from Boston, Lincolnshire. Born with phocomelia, a rare disability that causes the bones of the arms, and in some cases other appendages, to be extremely shortened and even absent, Hardstaff falls under profile 21 of the WDBS classification system.

Although he has less competitive experience than some of the other players mentioned (the Manchester Classic was his first taste of competition snooker), Hardstaff is no stranger to cuesports having first been introduced when he was approximately 13-years-old:

“My brother and I would go to the snooker club once a week and play snooker and pool,” said Hardstaff. “I then started to play in our local pool league at the age of 16 and have since won many local town competitions. Snooker has been a game that I have played alongside this as a cue practice mechanism as I never classed myself as good enough to join the local snooker league.”

wdbsprofile21

A former football coach whose son now plays for a local academy, Hardstaff learned of the WDBS earlier this year following an enquiry to the WPBSA as to competitive opportunities for people with disabilities. Following his debut in Manchester he is now relishing the prospect of gaining match experience in future tournaments.

“Snooker for me is a love – hate game,” said Hardstaff. “Fortunately I love it more than I hate it! It’s one of those games that when you are playing well it is extremely rewarding and enjoyable to play.

“I would consider myself as an experienced player but with a lot to learn as my competitive side of snooker is a bit lacking. Having played most of my games in a non-competitive, friendly way with family and friends, it’s certainly something that needs a bit of work.

“I can compete with players of a similar skill level but importantly my disability makes very little difference, although you would not perhaps think that when you see me. There are certain barriers that my disability creates such as bridging over balls that are close together, long reaching shots and power shots however this is compensated somewhat in different approaches to shot selection.”

JoeH

Hardstaff describes his involvement in the Manchester Classic as a real ‘eye-opener’, while he was also one of the players who attended World Disability Snooker Day at the 2016 World Championship.

“I went into the competition with an open mind and I was amazed by the standard of play,” continued Hardstaff. “I met some very nice people who I met again at the World Championship in Sheffield where I attended the disability day to show people what we can do. This I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the Crucible tour and watching the professionals of course.

“I think the WDBS has a fantastic energy about it. The people who make the organisation operational are very enthusiastic and driven which I really like. They are also very friendly and welcoming. With that kind of focus and vision who knows what’s possible in years to come. Hopefully there will be some sort of Olympics representation of the sports and a wider community of players and playing opportunities.

“I am very pleased to be a part of it and can see myself continuing to compete wherever I can.”

Next week we continue our look at the WDBS classification system as we turn to our group five classification, the third and final ambulant profile.

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Three

Today we continue our journey through the World Disability Billiards and Snooker classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each WDBS event.

This week we look at the group three profiles, the first group which includes ambulant players who have a physical disability.

WDBS Disability Classification

The WDBS classification system comprises 36 individual profiles, which have then been allocated to eight groups, used to categorise events.

The system has been taken from the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) profile toolkit and revised to suit snooker and billiards.

Group 3 (profiles 12-14, 16, 26, 31-32)

Profile 12: Able to walk, but has severe difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity.

Profile 13: Able to walk, but has poor use of three limbs.

Profile 14: Able to walk, but one side of the body is of little use; usually can only balance unaided on the good leg.

Profile 16: One upper limb is severely impaired.

Profile 26: Able to walk, but has moderate difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity.

Profile 31: Both legs severely impaired, both arms moderately impaired.

Profile 32: Both arms severely impaired, both legs moderately impaired.

Group three is the first of three groups for ambulant players (i.e. players able to walk), who have other physical disabilities. The group is made up of five disability profiles (12-13, 26 & 31-32), plus a further two ‘either/or’ profiles (14 and 16).

Players falling under these two profiles without orthosis/appliances will be assigned to group three, whereas those with orthosis/appliances compete in different groups.

At the WDBS events held so far, group three players have competed together exclusively in competitions. Of the three ambulant groups, players classified as group three are the most affected by their disability when playing across all groups

Player view

We have a number of regular group three players at WDBS events, none more so than Kal Mattu and Daniel Blunn who have attended each of our three events so far, either in a playing or support capacity.

Blunn, who hails from Sutton Coldfield and has cerebral palsy, was a winner at the inaugural Open Disability Snooker Championship in Gloucester last year and also made the final of the group three competition at the Manchester Open.

He was only four years old when he first came across snooker, before he began to play on a full-size table at the age of 10:

“I went to the Tamworth Snooker Centre and started to play a number of junior players at the time,” said Blunn. “I really enjoyed it and it went from there. I played Jimmy White when I was 11 in an exhibition as the most improved junior (managed to beat him on the black actually), and I’ve played in a number of tournaments since.”

wdbsprofile14

A real student of the game who has in the past worked with SightRight’s Steve Feeney and more recently enjoyed coaching from qualified WPBSA World Snooker coaches at WDBS events, Blunn still loves snooker as much as he ever has.

“The most positive aspect of playing snooker for me is that first of all it is an enjoyable sport. There is plenty of scope for improvement and where you can progress in the game. There is something in it for everybody. I’m privileged to be able to play in these tournaments.

“It is also a great way for me to be able to shut off from work. It gives me enjoyment and targets to see where I can progress to. It’s like a bit of me time, it gives me a life away from work.”

BlunnMattu

Blunn has been competing in tournaments for a number of years, but has welcomed the launch of the WDBS and the events that have been held during its first year. He has also been a part of related activities including visits to the World and UK Championship and was also able to complete the WPBSA’s level one coaching course earlier this year.

“I think the events so far have been excellent,” added Blunn. “The great thing about them is how competitive they are. At the first one at Gloucester for example, you could just see the intensity on everybody’s faces.

“You could also see how well-run the event was and just what a great venue it was. You could see that it was the start of something big. Everybody is competitive but there is also space for us to get along, there is no bad blood anywhere or animosity between anyone.

“I think that the WDBS has also got me involved in other things which have been really nice. I got to go to the Crucible for a day, to complete my level one coaching course and have watched professional snooker in the arena. All of this has come from the WDBS, especially with the TV feature early on in Gloucester which has really put us on the map.”

Blunn

And now Blunn is looking forward to the defence of his title in Gloucester when the WDBS returns for the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship in October:

“It is going to be great to see if I can defend my title in Gloucester. Whatever happens I’ve won it so I’ve got that one in the history books, but defending it would be nice. Let’s see what I can do, it’s certainly going to be an interesting one!”

You can learn more about the English Federation of Disability Sport and their recently launched #TogetherWeWill campaign to help encourage disabled people to become more active.

Next week we look at our group four classification, the second of the three ambulant groups.

WDBS – A Year On

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) recently celebrated its first anniversary following its creation in July 2015.

A subsidiary company of the WPBSA, snooker’s world governing body, WDBS was created to run tournaments and other cue sports activities for people with disabilities.

During its first 12 months, the WDBS has overseen events staged in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking, providing opportunities for players from all eight WDBS classification groups to compete.

WDBS players have also had the opportunity to visit top professional events including the World and UK Championship tournaments televised by the BBC, meeting top professionals including Mark Allen, Mark Williams and Alan McManus.

 

McManusBackground

One of the long-term ambitions of the WDBS is to see snooker regain a place in the Paralympics. It is perhaps a surprise to many that snooker was consistently included until as recently as 1988 and certainly within the UK there is a long history of disability snooker events.

For many years these were exclusively for wheelchair players, before the DSE (Disability Sports Events) began to stage competitions including a wider range of disabilities. Unfortunately in more recent years the events ran into difficulties for various reasons, with the final DSE event held in 2011.

One man who has played a significant role in the organisation of disability snooker within the UK is the EASB’s Clive Brown (pictured below working at the Woking Open), who now continues to be involved as a tournament director and also WDBS board member.

“Following the final DSE event in 2011, the regular players were asking me what was going on,” said Brown.

“I spoke to Jason Ferguson (Chairman of the WPBSA) and explained the problem we had. We had a few initiatives and interested parties, but something was needed to co-ordinate everything and get something going nationally. We had meetings over a couple of years, which initially led to an event at the South West Snooker Academy in 2013.Danielle

“Following that we carried on talking and also Jonathan Adams became involved which was very helpful to be able to tap into his knowledge and expertise of disability events. We managed to form a nucleus of interested people to take things further and ultimately this became the WDBS that exists today.

The Story So Far

Already in its first year the WDBS has made a significant impact, with 50 individual players having taken part in our three events to date. These include players with disabilities that have never been included within previous disability snooker events, which Brown describes as a major breakthrough:

“For many years there was just a national disability championship once a year,” said Brown. “But over the past 12 months we have held three events, with a view to holding more events next year. “WDBS is certainly opening up opportunities for people with disabilities; in particular those who are part of new categories such as the partially sighted and hearing impaired which we haven’t done before. There are also a lot more group six players with learning disabilities taking part.

“It’s a slow process but we are making inroads and generating much wider coverage of all categories of disability snooker.”

Gallacher

Player Response

The response from the players who have so far taken part in one of more of our three events has been positive, with a clear desire on their part for more and more events in the future.

Respondents of the recent WPBSA Insight Survey  cited the key benefits of playing snooker as including social interaction, being able to relax, as well as the opportunity to compete on a level playing field.

“All of the players that take part in disability snooker events always thoroughly enjoy the events,” continued Brown. “They want more. It’s very clear that they want something over and above playing snooker at a local level. They want to play competitively with people with disabilities, on a level playing field. They are competitive events, fun events and enjoyable events. Once you have been to one you certainly want more.

“As well as the diehards that have been involved for as long as I have been in disability snooker, already we have found a lot more who will become very loyal followers and participants over the coming years.

“It’s also nice to see that we have engaged with a lot more younger players as well who are the future of snooker. At one stage there was a danger of previous events becoming a club of ageing players but it’s nice that we are now making inroads now into a new generation.”

WDBS2

The Future

Of course while so much has already been achieved within the first 12 months, there is still a long journey ahead if snooker is to achieve its ultimate ambition of restoring the sport to the Paralympic Games.

Publicity of the events held so far, including television features during the coverage of professional main tour events has helped to put the WDBS on the map and our goal is to continue its growth over the coming years.

“I think it’s a slow process,” continued Brown. “We do need to learn how to work with more disability groups. It will take time to get in contact with the many hundreds of disability groups that are being run by local authorities and local organisations to actually try and engage with people that enjoy playing snooker.

“It’s a process that we hope will see the number of events that we are holding increase year-on year and encourage others to hold events for disabled. It may well be that the EASB will be holding some small events too which would be a very positive development.”