Category: General News

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 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.”

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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.”

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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.”

WDBS Classification Guide: Group Two

Last week we started our look at the World Disability Billiards and Snooker events classification system, used to determine which players are eligible to play in each WDBS event.

This week we explain the group two profiles, the second group available to wheelchair players.

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 2 (profiles 7-11)

Wheelchair profiles

Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in one arm, may use a power wheelchair or 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.

Group two is the second of two classifications (as well as group one) for wheelchair users.

The group is made up of four disability profiles (8-11), in addition to profile seven which can fall under group two when the player can make a bridge with their leading hand.

As explained last week, both groups one and two have to date competed together in events for wheelchair users. Of the two wheelchair groups, players who fall under group two are the least affected by their disability when playing across all groups, for example having good trunk control but with slightly weak hands, or visa versa. These players do not therefore receive a points start when competing across groups.

Player’s view

We have had a number of entries from players falling under group two so far, with Newport’s Craig Welsh claiming victory in the combined group 1-2 event in Manchester.

Another event winner is Mark Parsons from Bristol who competes as a profile 11 player and competed in the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship, defeating Steve Packer to win the single-frame plate event.

He also attended the Woking Open in both a coaching and support role, as well as representing the WDBS at Gloucester’s Big Health Check Day back in May.

wdbsprofile11

“I have my dad to blame for passing on the snooker bug to me as a nipper, when I was still walking,” said Parsons.

“After a bit of trial and error, I’ve adapted my game so I can play comfortably at the table, using rests to avoid over-stretching.

“Concentrating on snooker distracts me from my pain. I’ve found WDBS events to be well organised and friendly, raising the profile and level of the game as an inclusive sport.”

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 move on to our group three classification, the first of the WDBS ambulant profiles…

WDBS Classification Guide: Group One

World Disability Billiards and Snooker events are open to players with a wide range of disabilities, but how do we decide which players will play in each event and who they will play?

To explain, starting from this week we take a look at the WDBS classification system and hear from some of the players who have played in our events so far about their snooker experiences.

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 One (profiles 1-7)

Wheelchair profiles

Profile 01: 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. May use a power wheelchair or a manual 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 all four limbs, but with good trunk control. 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 difficulty in controlling arms.

Profile 07: A wheelchair user with good use in one arm, may use a power wheelchair or manual Wheelchair.

Group one is the first of two classifications (as well as group two) for wheelchair users, either power or manual.

The group is made up of six disability profiles (1-6), in addition to a seventh which can fall under either group one or two depending on whether the player can make a bridge with their leading hand.

At the WDBS events held to date, both groups one and two have competed together in events for wheelchair users. Of the two wheelchair groups, players who fall under group one are the most affected by their disability when playing across all groups and have therefore received a 14 point start when playing against players from group two.

Player’s view

Surrey’s Graham Bonnell has competed in WDBS events as a group one player, winning the group one/two event at the inaugural WDBS Open Disability Snooker Championship last November in Gloucester.

From Oxted, Bonnell was involved in a motorcycle accident in 1983 when he was just 18, in which he suffered a broken neck. A few years later he was invited to play snooker at the local British Legion and has since gone on to captain a team in his local league.

Bonnell competes in WDBS events as a profile six player (and therefore group one), as a result of his incomplete quadriplegia.

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“My bridge hand is of a group one player, but the grip in my back hand which holds the cue is not of group one or not strong enough for group two,” explained Bonnell.

“I can usually get down on the shot quite well, nearly as well as an able-bodied player.”

As well as playing the game for enjoyment, Bonnell has also found that snooker has become a key part of his everyday life from a physical perspective:

Bonnell1

“I have been playing snooker for over 20 years and do now find that it helps with my day to day living,” said Bonnell. “For example leaning over the table to play the shots helps with spasm and to keep my body trunk more supple.

“I usually play four times per week, but when I don’t play for a week or two, I know all about it! It becomes so much harder to play.”

And with the 2016 Open Disability Snooker Championship around the corner this October, Bonnell is looking forward to defending his title and catching up with the WDBS team:

“So far I have only played in one event (Gloucester 2015), which went well as I won!” continued Bonnell.

“I also enjoyed visiting Sheffield for this year’s Disability Day and getting to meet more people, as was the case at the Friday Open Day at the Woking Open in May.

“It has also been good getting to know the WDBS team and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in Gloucester this year.”

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.

Come back next week to read more about our classification system as we turn to Group Two players…

New Campaign Encourages More Disabled People to be Active

A new national campaign has launched today to encourage and support disabled people, along with their friends and families, to become more active.

The Together We Will campaign looks to address the low number of disabled people who regularly take part in sport or exercise as highlighted in the most recent Sport England Active People Survey.

Results show that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. As one in five people in England have an impairment or long-term health condition, disabled people are a large proportion of everyone’s community. However, research highlights often disabled people do not find the opportunities accessible or appealing enough, or do not know where to go to find the right information.

Other insight shows that disabled people are keen to involve family and friends when being active and do not necessarily take part with just other disabled people. Fun is also highlighted as a key motivator for disabled people to be active.

Eight National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) are working together with the English Federation of Disability Sport to deliver the campaign, with backing from Sport England.

The Together We Will campaign shares first-hand experiences from people with different impairments or health conditions, about why being active is important to them. It also brings together useful information and support from the NDSOs on how and where you can begin getting active.

These stories all share a common theme – how being active has supported them to be healthier and stronger, while having fun along the way. NDSOs and EFDS will share disabled people’s experiences of sport and exercise, so others can learn more from the information and make choices about the activities they want to try.

Well-known actor, Will Mellor, is one of those championing the three-month campaign. He is extremely passionate about ensuring more opportunities exist for disabled people. With lived experience of disabled people in his family, Will wants to help make a difference and spread the Together We Will message. He is joining in the campaign by raising awareness of the opportunities and organisations that can support disabled people to be more active.

The eight NDSOs are British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association UK, LimbPower, Mencap, Special Olympics Great Britain, UK Deaf Sport and WheelPower.

Each NDSO plays a valuable role in providing accessible opportunities and support for disabled people. The Together We Will campaign will help direct disabled people, their friends, family and supporters, to the recognised NDSOs for more guidance and information about being active.

Speaking about the campaign, Will Mellor said:

“I’m proud to be part of this campaign which helps to encourage disabled people to be more active. It’s about everyone coming together to have fun and become healthier.

“My sister had Marfan’s syndrome which affected her physically as well as with her learning. She sadly passed away in 2013, but I recall fondly how much we loved being active as a family together. Therefore, I’m really looking forward to meeting our ambassadors and hearing their stories. We can all make a positive change and support more people to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight of Sport England, on behalf of all the campaign partners, said:

“We know that disabled people are half as likely to be active as non-disabled people. The National Disability Sports Organisations work with the sector to provide opportunities for a range of impairment groups to address this issue and encourage inactive people to get in to sport and physical activity.

“That’s why campaigns, like Together We Will, are so important. We need to put people and what they want and need at the very heart of everything we do. That includes supporting people to get active in places where they want to take part, in activities they want do and with people they want to be active with.

“We’re really excited about this campaign and are looking forward to working with all the National Disability Sports Organisations to help more disabled people to get active this summer.”

The campaign will run from July to September, as the nation embraces a summer of sport.

Activity organisers and providers can be involved in Together We Will.  Encourage disabled people to take part in your events and share the local support available to disabled people looking to be more active on social media using #TogetherWeWill.

For more information about Together We Will and support on how you can be more active, visit the joint campaign page www.efds.co.uk/together.

Join the conversation on social media using #TogetherWeWill and share your personal stories and photos of being active this summer.

Insight Survey Results

The WPBSA has today published the results of its Snooker Insight Survey carried out earlier in 2016.

The survey was devised with the aim of learning more about participation in snooker including why people play snooker and what benefits exist for players at all levels. Equally, the WPBSA is keen to better understand what barriers exist to those who don’t play and how these might be overcome by future initiatives.

The survey received responses from 1,351 people, of which 136 answered that they had a disability.

Subjects included general snooker habits, as well as more specific questions as to whether respondents felt that snooker is an inclusive sport for people with disabilities and if not, why.

To view the full results please click here, or alternatively read a report including results from those who stated that they had a disability only by clicking here.

Thank you to everybody who took the time to complete the survey which will be used to help us to shape the future development of our sport.

WDBS Supports Learning Disability Week

This week will see a series of events take place in support of people with learning disabilities, with a focus on the development of new friendships and relationships.

Learning Disability Week runs from 20-26 June 2016 and is co-ordinated by MENCAP, the leading voice of learning disability.

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WDBS director Bob Hill

The recent WDBS Woking Open was the first world disability snooker competition open to people with learning disabilities. Many of the players who took part were part of a coaching group organised by WDBS director Bob Hill, a leading snooker coach in the Bristol area who recognises benefits of snooker for people with learning disabilities, including the creation of new social opportunities.

“I really believe snooker is an ideal sport for players with learning disabilities,” said Hill. “It involves an intuitive set of ideas, such as potting balls and taking it in turns; it’s interactive, giving players the chance to socialise while taking part; and it requires focus while not being over-complicated.

And the rewards do not only extend to the players themselves, but also to coaches such as himself and fellow WDBS director Tim Squires, who also coaches learning disability groups.

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WPBSA World Snooker coach Danielle Findlay in Woking

“Coaching players with learning disabilities is the best part of the coaching I do because the players involved gain the most rewards from it,” continued Hill. “It’s not only about improving skill, but about players gaining confidence and social skills. One player in my group barely spoke during his first three sessions, but he has gradually made friends. He recently competed in the Woking Open tournament and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I would encourage other coaches to develop snooker groups for players with learning disabilities – there are lots of skills and enjoyment to be gained from it. You will have a really positive impact on those who attend.

“I would also urge community organisations supporting people with learning disabilities to look at what snooker provision exists near them and give it a go. Or else contact the WDBS to find out how to get started.”

For more information and to support Learning Disability week please visit MENCAP’s website and tweet using the hashtag #LDWeek16

Listen: Adams Hails WDBS Growth

Jonathan Adams has spoken of the ‘fantastic’ opportunities provided by the WDBS since its formation last summer.

The WDBS director and British Paralympian has this week been featured on BBC Suffolk and Phoenix FM to discuss the progress made, following the successful staging of events in Gloucester, Manchester and Woking to date.

“To see the WDBS growing at the rate that it is, not just in the work that we are doing, but also the attention that it is bringing, just shows that if you have got an ambition and a vision to be professional and just do something right and with the best intentions possible, then the world is your oyster.”

In particular, Adams was thrilled by the success of the most recent WDBS event in Woking, which was the first to cater for players with both sensory and intellectual impairments:

“No event of my previous knowledge has been staged before for players with an intellectual disability in disability snooker,” said Adams. “We took it on ourselves to showcase how we think snooker can be a powerful sport, in that it’s not just available to a very select group, it is available to everybody.

“The event in Woking was a fantastic opportunity to give these players the opportunity to participate on a grand stage and that’s something that we feel we have achieved really well.”

To listen to Jonathan speak on Phoenix FM with guests including five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan please click here and scroll to approximately 20:00.

You can also listen to him during the first hour of Saturday’s afternoon’s broadcast on BBC Suffolk here, beginning at 8:39.