World Snooker announced yesterday that the academy in Gloucester had received the honour;
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson and Gloucester MP Richard Graham were at the renowned facility to make the announcement, as well as SWSA Owner Paul Mount and Director of Coaching Terry Griffiths. This followed last week's news of an Asian Academy and a planned network of Centres of Excellence across the UK and overseas.
Ferguson said: "The new programme will create Centres of Excellence all over the world. We'll have a number of elite centres which have achieved the highest standard of facilities and are committed to the development of our sport both at grassroots and professional level, providing opportunities for all.
"The SWSA is an oustanding facility and the investment Paul has made here, not just in financial terms, but in the commitment to snooker, far exceeds the standards that we require for a Centre of Excellence.
"This facility is being used as a centre to train coaches. We're encouraging new coaches into the sport and we'll be using the coaches already here and training new ones. Having Terry Griffiths here is the icing on the cake - you couldn't have a better person on board."
Also in attendance were players participating in this week's Summer School at SWSA. These included four players from Hong Kong, a nine year old from France and his father, and players from Wales and England. Later this week, SWSA is working in partnership with EBSA to run the inaugural European Junior Open Championship. This is a brand new event for Under 18s, intended to give further playing and development opportunities to young players from around the world and to give them a taste of international competition.
Pic left to right: Terry Griffiths, Paul Mount, Richard Graham MP and Jason Ferguson
It is great to see that after only being open for just over a year that the academy has been given recognition by the WPBSA and World Snooker.
Getting more youngsters to take the game up should be what the game as a whole should be focusing on at the moment and having these top class facilities around the world can only help that.
It is clear to see to all that visit the SWSA in Gloucester that the owner; Paul Mount and the rest of the team all put in a lot of effort in to making it the best academy of it's type and it can only improve in the years to come.
The academy is also partnering with the European Billards and Snooker Association (EBSA) to run the inuagural European Junior Open championship at the weekend and it will be a great chance for the stars of tomorrow including the likes of Ben Fortey and Dong Dong to get some vital match play experience.
Photos courtesy; South West Snooker Academy