Posts by: Matt Huart

WDBS champ Raja enjoys york trip

WDBS Champ Raja Enjoys York Trip

India’s Raja Subramanian was in York on Friday, reflecting on his triumph at the World Disability Billiards and Snooker’s (WDBS) first ever event, the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship (Josh Robinson writes).

The WDBS body was established in September in order increase the provision of cue sports for disabled people, and the first tournament was regarded as a success.

Raja, who is visually impaired and has Polio, took the title in the Group 4 and 5 classification event at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester last weekend. Impressing throughout the tournament, he made several breaks of over 50 as well as winning ten frames on the spin.

“I’m very happy because I’ve put a lot of effort into this game. I’m glad that I’ve won it as it is very important,” said the 43-year-old.

Raja receives his medal from paralympian Jonathan Adams

Raja receives his medal from paralympian Jonathan Adams

Mumbai-based Raja came over to the UK to play in the Gloucester event and the LITEtask British Open billiards tournament in Bradford, which runs this weekend.

He was presented with his winner’s medal in front of a packed Barbican crowd in York on Friday, minutes before the Betway UK Championship quarter-finals got underway. He also managed to meet and take pictures with some of snooker’s all-time greats, including Stephen Hendry, Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne.

“I was excited to meet these players because to me they are like Gods of snooker,” said Raja with noticeable glee. “I watched all of them when I was younger because I’ve been following snooker for a long time. One of my friends used to get video cassettes in the ‘80s and we used to sit and watch them. Now because of the internet we can watch every match. My favourite player was Alex Higgins, no doubt.”

Raja has been involved in sport since his teenage years. “I played table-tennis at state and national level when I was a junior,” he said. “I went on to play billiards after I watched a lot of good players at the club I went to. Wilson Jones was a world champion in billiards and he used to come to our club to do coaching.

“Somehow my parents and friends never made me feel different and I was playing with the best players at home so I never thought about disability. The main point is that when I started playing, even though I had a disability, I didn’t feel the difference. If some calamity happened after I started playing then maybe that would have been very difficult.”

On the state of the sport in his native country, he revealed: “In Mumbai there are a lot of snooker halls. There is billiards too and both are very popular there and are doing well. It was billiards that came first and then snooker. Now, billiards is slightly fading and snooker has become so popular.”

In 2014 he became world number 25 in billiards and he now managed to cross over onto the snooker table and excel. “It’s difficult to change between them because the cue grip has to be quite firm in snooker and much lighter in billiards,” he said.

Success for first WDBS event

Success For First WDBS Event

The new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body staged its first event last weekend, attended by players from around the UK and beyond.

The landmark event, called the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship, took place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

WDBS Medal Winners

Medal winners! Back row left to right: Raja Subramanian, Steve Packer, Andrew Harper, Daniel Blunn, Tony Pockett. Front row left to right: Mark Parsons, Glyn Lloyd.

The WDBS was launched in September with the intention to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play cue sports.

There were three main events held at the tournament, incorporating five different disability classification groups.

Taking victory in the combined Group 4 and 5 event was India’s Raja Subramanian, who defeated Gloucester’s Tony Pockett 2-0 in the final.

His win completed a remarkable story for the 43-year-old from Mumbai, who came over to the UK especially for this event and next weekend’s LITEtask British Open billiards tournament in Bradford.

For the past seven years Raja has predominantly played billiards, rising to 25th in the world rankings in 2014. He impressed throughout the weekend in Gloucester, hitting several breaks over 50 and winning ten frames without reply on his way to a well-deserved medal.

The Group 3 event was won by Daniel Blunn of Sutton Coldfield, who defeated Andrew Harper from St Helens 2-0 in a tightly contested final.

Raja Subramanian

Raja Subramanian defeated Gloucester’s Tony Pockett 2-0 in the final

The combined Group 1 and 2 wheelchair category was won by Surrey’s Graham Bonnell. Having topped his round robin group, he defeated Glyn Lloyd 3-0 in Sunday’s final.

There was also a plate event held on the tournament’s final day for the remaining ten players who had not progressed to the knock-out stages. This was won by Mark Parsons, who defeated Steve Packer in their single frame final.

In addition to their medals and participation certificates, all main event finalists will be invited to watch the Betway UK Championship semi-finals at the York Barbican and be presented with their medals in the main arena.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “It has been a fantastic first event here at the South West Snooker Academy. I have been overwhelmed by the approach of the players to the tournament, how they have enjoyed it and the outcomes we have had. We have had some fascinating stories coming out of the event.

Graham Bonnell

Graham Bonnell defeated Glyn Lloyd 3-0 in Sunday’s final

“This is the start of a very long road to get us back to the Paralympics and to get more people involved at grassroots level playing this great sport.”

British Paralympian and WDBS board member Jonathan Adams added:

“It has been a brilliant event. To say that we would be staging an event of this magnitude four months after creating the WDBS is something that I didn’t think would be possible and it has just been tremendous.

“It’s amazing to see players from as far away as India coming here to compete. To see the way that people have been captured by other people’s stories and to see it come to reality, after the work we have done, is only going to be beneficial for the future.

“We are all aware of the difficulties and the challenges that come with dealing with disability sport and disabled individuals, but it has not been about the disabilities. It has been about the abilities on the table and we have seen how much the players have enjoyed the competition and the atmosphere.

Jonathon Adams

Jonathan Adams

“I believe that this has put us firmly back on the map. The future is only bright.”

Prior to the two-day tournament there was an open day for people with disabilities with coaching provided by Tim Squires of Snookerbility and Bob Hill, both WPBSA Coaches. Those in attendance also had the opportunity to have photographs taken with the World Championship trophy.

It is proposed to hold the next event in March 2016 for the categories not included in this event.

Results (knock-out stages)

Group 1/2 Final
Graham Bonnell 3-0 Glyn Lloyd
Group 3 Final
Daniel Blunn 2-0 Andrew Harper
Group 4/5 Semi-Finals
Raja Subramanian 2-0 Jayson Wholey
Tony Pockett 2-0 Brent Welland
Group 4/5 Final
Raja Subramanian 2-0 Tony Pockett
WDBS winners to receive medals in york

WDBS Winners To Receive Medals In York

Entries are still open for the first tournament staged by the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body in Gloucester later this month, and the WDBS is delighted to announce that the winners will be invited to one of snooker’s biggest events to receive their medals.

The medals will be presented at the York Barbican on Saturday December 5th during the final weekend of the Betway UK Championship. Each winner will also receive two tickets for the afternoon and evening sessions and a hotel room.

The WDBS event will run on the weekend of November 28-29 at the South West Snooker Academy

The profiles below show who can play in this event. WDBS is looking to run tournaments for Groups 6 (learning disabilities), 7 (visual impairment) and 8 (deaf/hearing impairment) in the future and we would be interested in contact from any groups or leagues which already provide provision for these groups.

Wheelchair profiles

  • Profile 01c: Almost no use in four limbs. Need to use a power wheelchair, or a manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 01p: Almost no use in four limbs. Need to use a power wheelchair, or a manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 02: Almost no use in four limbs, but can bend elbows, and just about push a manual wheelchair. May need to use a power wheelchair.
  • Profile 03: Wheelchair user with very poor balance and inability to grip and release objects.
  • Profile 04: A person with almost no use in any limb, but with good trunk control. Usually able to push a wheelchair in some way.
  • Profile 05: A wheelchair user who has difficulty controlling their limbs when trying to perform any activity.
  • Profile 06: A wheelchair user with poor trunk control and slightly weak hands, or slight lack of control in arms.
  • Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in only one arm, they may need to use a power wheelchair if unable to push manual wheelchair.
  • Profile 08: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and slightly weak hands.
  • Profile 09: A wheelchair user with good use in arms, but with poor trunk control.
  • Profile 10: A wheelchair user with good use of trunk and arms but unable to use the hips to assist trunk movement.
  • Profile 11: A wheelchair user with good control of trunk and hips.

Ambulant Profiles

  • Profile 12: Able to walk, but has severe difficulty controlling all four limbs when performing an activity. May need to use a support to walk, or may have severe deformity of four limbs.
  • Profile 13: Able to walk, but has poor use of three limbs, usually uses a stick in good hand.
  • 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 works correctly.
  • Profile 16: One upper limb has little or no use.
  • Profile 17: Able to walk, but both legs are severely impaired, acting more like props. May need support to walk.
  • Profile 18: Able to walk, but one leg severely impaired, like a prop; other leg normal.
  • Profile 19: Able to walk, one leg severely impaired, used like a prop; other leg less impaired.
  • Profile 20: Able to walk and run but both legs impaired slightly – e.g. a moderate to slight diplegic.
  • Profile 21: Both arms are severely impaired or may be absent.
  • Profile 22: Both arms slightly impaired or absent below the elbow.
  • Profile 23: One leg has slight impairment, and they can usually run if fit enough.
  • Profile 24: One arm demonstrates difficulty with activities or below elbow amputee.
  • Profile 25: Very short stature (at least 12 inches (30.5cm) shorter than average, in particular extreme shortness of limbs.
  • Profile 26: Impairment of all four limbs, but not as severe as profile 12.
  • Profile 27: Opposite arm and leg severely impaired.
  • Profile 28: Both hips impaired causing walking difficulty, usually waddling gait.
  • Profile 29: Both shoulders causing problems with movement.
  • Profile 30: Deformity or weakness of the trunk.
  • Profile 31: Both legs severely impaired, both arms moderately impaired.
  • Profile 32: Both arms severely impaired, both legs moderately impaired.
WDBS Background

Entries Open For First WDBS Event

The first tournament staged by the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker body will take place in Gloucester in November.

Online payment for entry is now available – find out more information

Players must also fill out the entry pack, select the link below.

Entry pack

Open day details

View flyer

The WDBS was launched in September having been created to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play cue sports.

The first event will take place on the weekend of November 28 and 29 at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. Full details and the entry pack are now available using the links above, with a closing date of November 20.

There will be five different disability classification groups at this tournament, though the WDBS intends to extend this to eight groups at future events.

The medal and trophy presentations will be made by Paralympic shot-putter Jonathan Adams.

On Friday November 27 there will also be a free open day for disability snooker, with coaching sessions by Tim Squires.

WDBS logoThe South West Snooker Academy provides world class practice and playing facilities, featuring five Star tables fitted to World Snooker specifications, three more Star tables and two further tables.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “We are delighted to announce the first WDBS tournament and we are sure it will be a great success. We encourage anyone eligible to take part regardless of their snooker standard. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet others, get free coaching, and play in a competitive environment at an excellent venue which has been used for professional tournaments. Hopefully this will be the first of many successful WDBS events.”