As 2020 draws to a close, WWS President Mandy Fisher has a message for all of our players as we look forward to the New Year and a return to women’s snooker competition…
I hope that you are keeping well and staying safe as this most challenging of years reaches its conclusion.
On behalf of the World Women’s Snooker team I am writing to you today to provide you with an update as to the current situation and as to when we may be able to resume staging competitions in 2021.
It has been a frustrating year for all of us as the coronavirus pandemic has meant that we have been unable to run any further tournaments since Ng On Yee’s victory at the Belgian Open in early February.
Over the past few years women’s snooker has gained significant momentum with the support of the WPBSA, having notably staged our most successful World Championship in many years in Bangkok last summer. Our tournaments around the world have seen entry numbers from players around the world consistently on the rise, with both new and returning players joining the tour which can now boast over 150 players.
Of course, the impact of the current world circumstances has been felt far beyond our sport and as well as respecting both national and international restrictions, our first priority has always been the safety of you and everybody involved in our tournaments.
This has meant that in the UK for example, since the start of the first lockdown back in March, it has simply not been possible to stage open entry amateur events on the scale that we are all used to. Together with our partners the WPBSA and the EPSB, we have continued to explore opportunities to stage tournaments throughout this year, but the restrictions in place have meant that unfortunately this has not been an option.
So too for our friends in Australia as we were forced to cancel this year’s planned Australian Women’s Open, with international travel and quarantine restrictions in other countries also meaning that it has been a difficult year for amateur snooker as a whole, not only our tour.
However, I am pleased to report that there is reason for optimism as we head into the New Year. The approval and start of the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine within the UK is highly encouraging and we hope that over the coming months will signal the start of a return to normality for us all.
Perhaps even more important in the short-term, we are seeing that the cost of COVID-19 testing is beginning to come down, combined with the expectation of warmer weather and the anticipated relaxation of restrictions over the coming months. We hope that these factors will help us.
In January, our friends at World Seniors Snooker will stage the first open-entry amateur tournament across the WPBSA Group since the onset of the pandemic. That event will operate in a bubble environment with COVID-19 testing in place and the venue closed to the public during the event, a model that we will follow with interest.
It has been an extremely challenging year for all of us and amateur snooker has not escaped the impact of the pandemic. At this moment it remains difficult to plan with certainty for events as we all await to see how government restrictions will be relaxed both within the UK and across the globe over the coming weeks and months.
But we are continuing to work towards a return, and I can assure you that we will be back as soon as it is safe and viable to stage an event. I would also like to state that we are committed to considering the needs of all players – wherever they are in the world – into account during this uncertain time during which international travel may remain difficult for some time to come.
Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the foundation of World Women’s Snooker during which I have been lucky to meet so many wonderful people. While competitions have had to be paused this year, we have remained busy and notably used the time to build an online record of those 40 years, of which you are all a part. You can access this at WPBSA SnookerScores, where you can search for yourself and view tournament results dating back through our history.
Never have I more looked forward to building upon that history, to seeing everybody once again and to seeing women producing the fantastic snooker that I know you are all capable of.
I hope that the upcoming festive period brings you and your families some cheer as we prepare to leave 2020 behind us and we can all look forward to celebrating our wonderful sport together in the New Year.
Thank you all for your continued patience and understanding!