The inaugural World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Welsh Open has seen entries from a record 40 players, more than a week prior to the original entry deadline.
Since its inaugural event staged back in November 2015, the WDBS has seen consistent growth in player numbers at tournaments staged for people with a wide-range of different disabilities over the previous 18 months.
For the first time, the upcoming Welsh Open, to be staged in Cwmbran at Redz Snooker Club from 30 June – 2 July 2017, will be open to players of all eight WDBS disability classification groups. With matches to be played using the Six Red format, the tournament will see players with physical, learning and sensory disabilities compete against each other across an initial round robin phase, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout rounds.
Players not qualifying for the last 16 will be able to play in a mixed classification doubles tournament during the final day of the event in what will be another new WDBS initiative trialled over the weekend.
Once again, the event will be supported by St Helens based company J&S Trading, which specialises in recycling mobile phone parts and accessories. Through WPBSA World Snooker coach Simon Berrisford, the company has become a regular sponsor of WDBS events since the Manchester Classic in March.
WPBSA Sport Development Manager Chris Hornby said: “It is fantastic to see numbers growing as we put on more events.
“This will be a great learning experience for us to run our first event with completely mixed classification groups and we hope this can be become a regular fixture in the calendar. Hopefully it will be a real opportunity for players from all the groups to socialise and have fun, whilst there will also be a competitive edge.
“It is exciting to see the WDBS stage its first event outside of England and we hope that this is the first of many countries to be added to the WDBS calendar.”
All players, including those who have not entered the tournament are also encouraged to attend the Friday Open Day at the event, at which practice and coaching opportunities will be available.