Gary Swift: Snooker champion makes World Ability Games one year after being attacked in wheelchair

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The 52-year-old from Sheffield needs the public's help to fund the cost of representing his country

A snooker champion has been selected to represent Britain in the World Ability Games one year after being attacked in his wheelchair in Sheffield.

Gary Swift has been selected to represent Team GB in snooker at the World Ability Games. But the 52-year-old, who was last year attacked in his wheelchair in Sheffield, needs the public's help to get him thereGary Swift has been selected to represent Team GB in snooker at the World Ability Games. But the 52-year-old, who was last year attacked in his wheelchair in Sheffield, needs the public's help to get him there
Gary Swift has been selected to represent Team GB in snooker at the World Ability Games. But the 52-year-old, who was last year attacked in his wheelchair in Sheffield, needs the public's help to get him there | Stephen Harrison

But Gary Swift, who lives in Beighton and attends the Stephen Harrison Academy in Attercliffe, needs the public's help to get him to the tournament in Thailand this December.

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Although his accommodation is being paid for by World Disability Billiards and Snooker, he is having to fund the £900 cost of his flights, along with other expenses.

Stephen Harrison is trying to raise £1,500 to ensure Gary, aged 52, can compete for his country without being left out of pocket.

Gary is a multiple world champion at pool and snooker but he hopes the World Ability Games will be a springboard to get snooker back into the Paralympic Games, where it has not featured since the 1980s.

Stephen, whose father Ray Harrison won Paralympic gold at snooker in 1985, has set up a GoFundMe appeal and will be playing a 24-hour 'snookerthon' at the academy on Saturday, October 28, from midday, to help raise the money for Gary's trip.

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Still suffers numbness and double vision after being attacked on way home from pub

Gary, who lost the use of his limbs as a teenager, required surgery after being attacked in his wheelchair on his way home from the Fox pub in Beighton in September last year.

He was punched in the face, leaving him with a broken jaw and eye socket, and his attacker was never found by police.

Gary Swift in hospital after being attacked in Sheffield in September 2022. He still suffers from numbness and double vision but that has not stopped him being selected to represent Team GB at the World Ability Games this DecemberGary Swift in hospital after being attacked in Sheffield in September 2022. He still suffers from numbness and double vision but that has not stopped him being selected to represent Team GB at the World Ability Games this December
Gary Swift in hospital after being attacked in Sheffield in September 2022. He still suffers from numbness and double vision but that has not stopped him being selected to represent Team GB at the World Ability Games this December | Contributed

Gary told The Star how he still experiences numbness down the side of his face, where a metal plate was inserted following the attack, and he sometimes suffers from double vision when attempting a long pot.

That did not prevent him winning his first tournament after getting out of hospital, without losing a frame, and reaching the finals of the next two competitions he entered.

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Gary Swift with one of the many snooker trophies he has wonGary Swift with one of the many snooker trophies he has won
Gary Swift with one of the many snooker trophies he has won | Contributed

'Hopefully I can bring one of these medals home'

Gary said: "Being selected to represent Team GB at the World Ability Games was amazing. It's hopefully the next step towards getting snooker in the Paralympic Games.

"But the flights alone are £900 so any help I can get with the costs would be brilliant. Hopefully I can bring one of these medals home."

To donate, and for more information about the 'snookerthon', visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/qtunaa-lets-raise-a-few-quid-for-gary.

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