Held at the Centara Korat in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, snooker has been included in the World Abilitysport Games for the first time and will see up to 34 players from five different classification groups battle to take home the gold, silver and bronze medals within their respective competitions.
The Games were launched as part of a spectacular opening ceremony earlier this week at His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday Anniversary, 5th December 2007 Stadium, during which several players participated within the march alongside several other sports and athletes from around the globe.
The on-table action got underway on Tuesday morning with matches from all competitions contested throughout the day on six tabled supplied by Rasson Billiards and installed by Thailand Pool Tables.
Each classification group began with a round-robin group stage, which will see four players progress to semi-finals and subsequently gold/silver and bronze medal matches. A varied field of established WDBS players and newcomers to the WDBS circuit contested 45 matches on the opening day, with the group stages set to conclude on Wednesday.
Featuring four players, Group 1 encompasses wheelchair users with poor trunk control and impairment of one or both arms. All four players will progress to the knockout rounds, with group stage positioning set to determine the semi-final draw.
It has so far been a winning start for two-time WDBS Belgian Open Kurt Deklerck, who won both of his opening matches to top the group after day one. He leads former Stockport Open champion Gary Swift and Thailand’s Numpol Thongpusawan – who have one win apiece so far – ahead of the second Thai player in the group Chatchai Khamklon, who lost both his matches today.
In Group 2, which features wheelchair users with better control of trunk and arms, a single group stage of seven players will see the top four players secure last four berths for the tournament.
Following the opening day it is Wei-Te Cheng of Chinese Taipei who tops the group with a perfect record of four wins from four, ahead of top ranked WDBS wheelchair user Tony Southern of Great Britain with three wins.
The remaining two qualifying positions are set to be contested between Great Britain’s Darren Taylor, as well as Thai duo Niwat Kongta and Surasit Loisaratrakul, who each have two wins to date.
Aimed at ambulant players where one or more upper limbs is absent or severely impaired, Group 3 comprises an impressive nine players, who have been split into two groups with the top pair from each set to move forward into the semi-finals.
The star of day one would prove to be home hero Thanapol Seekao, who impressed onlookers by claiming all eight frames played to top Group A and guarantee his place in the knockout draw.
He is currently followed by former WDBS Hull Open winner Andy Lam of Hong Kong on two wins, ahead of Kal Mattu and Kit Kennedy of Great Britain, as well as Bohumil Vanek of the Czech Republic.
In the second section, two-time WDBS champion Adam Wilk of Poland currently leads the way with a 100% record, ahead of current WDBS Group 3 Champion of Champions Joe Hardstaff and Thai pair Kaisorn Thongla and Sutat Yamee.
Group 4 comprises ambulant players where one or more lower limbs is absent or severely impaired and sees six players compete across a single group over three days in Nakhon Ratchasima.
A section dominated by players from Great Britain, it is currently led by Carl Gibson who has yet to drop a frame with three matches won, ahead of compatriots David Church and Nigel Brasier on two wins apiece and Steve Cartwright and Andy Johnson with a single win at this stage.
Featuring ambulant players where one or more upper or lower limbs are slightly impaired, Group 5 has seen eight players compete across two groups, with Thailand’s Songkiat Raebankoo and Belgium’s Gerdy Dupont currently in pole position with two wins from two in their respective sections.
In Group A, Great Britain’s David Moore and Robert Marriott look set to battle it out for the second qualification position, while Dave Bolton and Dean Simmons also have one win apiece in Group B with a head-to-head meeting set for Wednesday.
The action will continue on Wednesday 6 December with the conclusion of the group stage matches, to be followed by the best of five frames semi-finals from all groups later in the evening.
The latest scores, standings and match schedule can be accessed via WPBSA SnookerScores, with live streamed matches from table one and further news, images and content available via the WDBS Facebook and X social media channels.