This is a guest post by Sarah as part of Speaker’s Corner Sundays.
Iâ€™m a very big fan of snooker, and will be watching this yearâ€™s World Championship, which runs from April 18th until May 4th, with great excitement.
This morning, I went looking for TV timings and discovered the Snooker Scene Magazine Blog, where a snooker journalist called Dave H reports that professional player Rory McLeod will make history during the tournament by becoming the first black player ever to compete at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which has been the tournamentâ€™s home for over 25 years. He goes on to say that “Snooker is not an elitist sport. Anyone can join a club and start playing.”
However, he contradicts this by saying that although McLeod isnâ€™t one to make a big deal of it, itâ€™s a noteworthy achievement. The BBC carried the same introduction to McLeod at the start of this afternoonâ€™s coverage of the tournament. Neither source has so far said a word about McLeodâ€™s world ranking, however. Funny, that.
Iâ€™ve seen McLeod playing matches on TV before, in less prestigious tournaments, and from what I remember, his race was barely mentioned then. Iâ€™ve also seen Pakistani player Shokat Ali play on TV and while the commentators revealed that he speaks Urdu and Panjabi, they didnâ€™t focus on his race, either. As for snookerâ€™s Chinese players, Iâ€™m pleased to say that these days, many of them need no introduction.
So why does it seem that anyone can play snooker without anyone noticing anything but the quality of their game, unless theyâ€™re at the World Championships? This is not South Africa or America. This is England, where we have famous black football players and half our national cricket team is Asian. So why should snooker be any different? Surely the World Championship, of all tournaments, shouldnâ€™t focus on which part of the world a player comes from?
Like I said, I will be watching the tournament with interest. But the only Black Iâ€™ll be focusing on will be the black ball.
May the most talented player win!
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