World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) staged an Open Day at the WPBSA-CBSA World Snooker Academy in Beijing on Tuesday.
The event was attended by Nigel Mawer QPM, Chairman of the WDBS, Chris Hornby, Sports Development Manger of WPBSA, as well as professional snooker coaches, disabled snooker fans and players.
The event was hosted by the China Administration of Sport for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD) and the WDBS. It was jointly organised by Beijing Disabled Persons’ Federation, WPBSA and CBSA, and supported by Beijing Rigour Culture & Media as well as the CBSA World Snooker Academy.
This is one of the rehabilitation fitness demonstration events organised by CASPD during the eighth Disability Fitness Week. Major media outlets in Beijing gave the event significant coverage.
The WDBS was created by WPBSA, snooker’s governing body, in 2015 to give more people with disabilities the opportunity to play snooker. In Europe it has run numerous tournaments and community-based projects for disabled players. Officials from WDBS visited CASPD in Beijing in June to discuss potential cooperation projects, including this open day during CASPD disability week. This was supported by CBSA, who provided coaches for the day, and by Rigour Media who have allowed WDBS and CASPD to use their excellent facility in Beijing.
The theme of the day was to encourage disabled people, who may have never played the sport of snooker, to give it a try. More than 40 deaf and disabled people learned to play snooker through fun activities and exercises arranged by CBSA coaches.
One of the disabled fans said: “This is the first time I have participated in this kind of event and the experience was excellent. The environment is very good. Through the guidance of the coach, I have a deeper understanding of snooker. I hope there will be more events like this which allow more people to enjoy the unique fun of snooker.”
WDBS will work closely with CASPD and CBSA to look at longer term projects, potentially installing snooker tables at CASPD’s headquarters in the National Paralympic Training Centre in Beijing before branching replica projects out into other regions in China. It is hoped that this will generate enough competition to create National Championships for people with disabilities, who can then compete against other countries internationally. Rigour’s ball-tracking technology could even allow for long-distance competitions between British and Chinese disabled players.
WDBS has long term Paralympic ambitions and hopes to create opportunities for disabled people in China.