Henrik Larsson, world champion en titre at pool played in a wheelchair and Sonia Simionov, national champion of Romania at billiards, have played a spectacular demonstrative match on Saturday, April 8th, at the National Competition of Pool Played in a Wheelchair, the biggest sports event of this type for people with locomotor disabilities. The competition, with prizes worth nearly 10,000 EUR, was won by Adrian Mocanu, aged 34. The competition was attended by nearly 70 participants with physical disabilities from all around the country, aged between 15 and 60 years.
Being the first time in Romania, Swedish Henrik Larsson is 6 times World Champion at Pool played in a wheelchair, a position he still holds today, and 12 times European Champion. “You can go beyond yourself if you put joy in what you are doing”, says Henrik, a winner par excellence. “I like Romania, I like the Balkan spirit from Eastern Europe, the music and the atmosphere.” Henrik is currently facing players that do not have locomotor disabilities, winning at competitions like Eurotours, Kremlin Cup or Pool World Series. He plays guitar and piano since he was 6 years old, loves movies, but he spends most of his time with his family: his future wife, Linda, and their 4 children.
Irina Văcăreanu, President of the Always Together for People Sports Association: “I was deeply impressed by Henrik’s will and his love for life. He is a true example of constancy and determination, and an inspiration for our future projects. We have on our priority list the establishment of a motivational training center for people with locomotor disabilities caused by accidents. On the long term we wish to transform Pool played in a wheelchair in a Paralympic sport in Romania. I want to thank our sponsors and partners whom year by year gather around us in larger number.”
Adrian Mocanu (First Place winner): “I am very happy that I won, it is for the first time I am participating in such a competition, I rarely played pool. I like sports, I am part of Romania’s National team of Pool played in a wheelchair and I also swim. In the final I played against my best friend, a more experienced player, and I won just because of my self-control. Billiards is a game of mind, but especially of courage. Thanks to the organizers for everything.”
Mihai Alexandru Manea (15 years old): “I have won the prize for the youngest and most perseverant contestant. My biggest joy is that I have received as award a sports type wheelchair, special made for sports competitions. Besides billiards, I play chess and I am passionate about computers.”
Corneal Deaconița (contestant): “Until 1989 you couldn’t find cues, only broom tails. I started to play billiards with my friends. Now it is one of my favorite sports. There is only one billiard hall In Galati where you can enter in a wheelchair. I am also playing Ping-Pong, shooting guns, but my great hobby is archery (I am a national champion at Recurve for people with disabilities – 2016). I wish for the organizers to make this competition happen also in the next year, it is one of the biggest events at a national level, with participants from all the counties. Sport is uniting us!”
Marinela Ion (contestant): “It is for the first time I try playing billiards, and to my surprise, I really like it! I made it to the semifinals! It caught me, although I do not believe in luck. The moments when we hang out in an organized framework at this type of activities are the most beautiful , because otherwise we hang out really rarely. I think I am going to come back, even alone, to play billiards. I would also like to do apprenticeships, training camps. My husband, who is also in a wheelchair, is participating too at this competition.”
The third edition of The National Competition of Pool Played in a Wheelchair is taking place under the observation of The National Council of Disability from Romania (CNDR), and The Direction of Sports and Youth of Bucharest city. The Always Together for People Sports Association would like to thank to the sponsors: Fox, Nova Tech Med, NeoMed, Zdrovit, Konf & Autentik Design Impact, Coca Cola HBC, Micri Gold, Safemed, Decathlon, Power of Rudraksha, to the partners: The Art Cultural Association for Romanian Children, Framinor Grup, Emil Racoviță Sports High School, Scorsese, Tiger Security, and the media partners: Rock Fm, Evenimentul zilei, Nine O’ Clock, Cațavencii, Gazeta Sporturilor, Casino Life & Business Magazine.