World Snooker Championship holds Women’s Day in Sheffield’s Winter Garden
As the World Snooker continues towards its climax, the women’s game was showcased to fans in Sheffield's Winter Garden.
The tournament, which is being played out at the Crucible Theatre, had a distinctive female flavour as it staged its own dedicated Women’s Day.
Primary school children took to the baize in the Cue Zone, which has once again been set up in the Winter Garden and 11-time women’s world champion Reanne Evans was also there to try and encourage members to pick up a cue and try snooker.
Speaking at the event, former snooker coach and player James Tristram–Thornby said: “As a former snooker coach and player, this is fantastic we've always been trying to get women involved in the sport and to see it culminate like this is brilliant.
“Hopefully it can move even further than this, but the BBC have done a great job promoting this and giving it backing.”
Evans lost out to Zhang Yong in the first qualifying round of this year’s World Snooker Championship and Ng On-yee, the reigning women's world champion, took on former Masters winner Alan McManus at the English Institute for Sport Sheffield.
Mr Tristram-Thornby said: “Sometimes you'd get the men showing off a bit and it could be intimidating for the girls, but now that barrier has been broken, it looks like.
“Snooker classes can be very difficult to maintain, getting people to come down and having the money to run it.
“It's hard enough to get kids down to sessions in the small amount of time we have, especially young girls, as the lads can put them off.
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“Even then, the ones that do come down sometimes move on with their lives and drop snooker altogether.
“Snooker is not too difficult to get involved with – a lot of people start with pool, like myself.
“I've recently had to stop coaching because it's expensive and not enough people would come down regularly – but Women's Snooker Day has been brilliant.
“It's doing so much for getting women involved in snooker. Some of them are really, really good. They have the right stance, their eyes look straight over the ball as they get into position – as a coach, they do everything you look for. Hopefully, they can inspire a generation of women to get involved with this sport.”
The World Snooker Championship final begins on Sunday and comes to an end on Monday.