The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is today delighted to announce that snooker will be contested as part of the World Abilitysport Games for the first time in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand this December.
The groundbreaking event is organised by World Abilitysport, a new body established following the merger of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation and Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association. The organisation aims to ensure that everyone with a physical impairment that wants to do sport either for leisure or to compete at the highest levels can do so.
With over 1,000 athletes with physical impairments set to compete across 11 sports ahead of next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris, it has been confirmed that snooker will be contested for the first time following positive discussions between the WPBSA and World Abilitysport.
The Games will be hosted by the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand and run from 3-9 December 2023. It is planned that the snooker events will run from 4-7 December, to include a classification day and medal ceremony.
As the event is focused on athletes with physical disabilities, entry will be limited to players from WDBS Classification Groups 1-5 only, with a selection process in place to ensure international representation and appropriate classification groupings.
Snooker was a key sport introduced by neurologist Ludwig Guttman at the National Spinal Injuries Centre and Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1944 and was subsequently one of the founding sports of the Paralympic Games back in Rome 1960.
In recent years, the WPBSA, through its subsidiary organisation World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), has created new opportunities for people with disabilities to play snooker competitively, with over 40 recognised events staged in the UK and mainland Europe. These have featured players from around the world, with champions crowned from India, Hong Kong, Belgium and Poland.
Both the WPBSA and WDBS share the long-term aspiration to see snooker return to the Paralympic Games and welcome the inclusion of our sport at this major event.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Snooker’s inclusion at this year’s World Abilitysport Games represents a landmark moment for our sport. In 2015, we formed WDBS to help encourage people with disabilities to participate in snooker and it has been humbling to meet so many players who share our passion for this sport.
“As we look to continue our growth, to see snooker take its place at a prestigious multisports event like the World Abilitysport Games is testament to the achievements of both our team and most importantly the players, and I wish everyone at the event every success.”
WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer QPM said: “This is a major step forward for disability snooker and a significant opportunity to showcase our sport on an international stage.
“I would like to thank everybody who has helped to make this possible, including our officials, referees and volunteers, as well as of course the players themselves and their carers or supporters.”
Any players who would like to register their interest in competing at the event are encouraged to contact us for further information.
Please note, that only players from WDBS Classification Groups 1-5 are eligible for this event.