Youth snooker tournaments launch in Sheffield

Two snooker tournaments, for young people with learning difficulties, will be held in Sheffield this month.

Monday, 1st April 2019, 2:57 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 12:48 pm
Snooker tournament hosted by Stephen Harrison Snooker Academy
Snooker tournament hosted by Stephen Harrison Snooker Academy

The Junior Disability Snooker Doubles Championships will launch on April 20, at Walkley Snooker Centre, followed a week later by the National Junior Disability Snooker Championships, on April 27. The tournaments will be hosted by the Sheffield-based Stephen Harrison Snooker Academy.

Stephen Harrison MBE formed the academy back in 2008 in memory of his dad, Ray Harrison, who won gold in the 1985 Paraplegic World Snooker Championships.

“My father was, and remains, my inspiration,” said Stephen.

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“In his younger life he showed promise as a footballer, with Sheffield United training him in their junior team, when he was struck down with Polio aged 16. He became highly successful at snooker, winning many awards, developing his remaining body strength to learn how to lift himself into certain positions on the table. He also promoted the sport to other physically disabled players, forming teams and arranging competitions at the old Lodge Moor Hospital.

“After he died I wanted to carry on his work, and launched the academy to teach youngsters with learning difficulties. The academy is now a social enterprise, with trained staff and volunteers. I was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List and share the accolades received with all the people who help us every day.

“Tournaments, like the one later this month, give young people the chance to build their confidence and put everything they’ve learned into practice. We teach them how to focus, where to position the ball, and how to develop strategies. They make friends and learn how to win and lose the games and competitions with good feeling.

“I want the sport to grow for people who have disabilities, giving everyone the chance to play this wonderful game.”

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