‘I owe it all to him’ - Disabled Norwich snooker player wins championship days after father’s funeral

David Church. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

David Church. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

A disabled snooker player from Norwich has won a national championship just days after his father's funeral.

David Church. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

David Church. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

David Church, from Lakenham, secured his first World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) open championship gold in the most testing of circumstances.

Almost four weeks prior to the event in Wolverhampton, the 21-year-old, who suffers from Moebius syndrome, was told his father had died aged 54.

Mr Church said he was devastated by the news, but was also inspired to make his dad proud.

And four days after his father's funeral on September 18, he went on to win the championship's 4-5 classification group.

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'The day I came back from a competition in Germany I heard the terrible news that my father had died from alcoholism,' Mr Church said.

'I was distraught because he was my best friend.

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'I didn't play much or practice afterwards because I was a mess. But I went on and achieved the biggest tournament win of my life.

'When I won, I cried because I wish he was alive to have seen me. I owe and dedicate it all to him.'

Mr Church, who plays at Woodside Snooker Centre, beat Adam Leighton 3-0 to secure his first WDBS gold medal.

Earlier this year he made it to the final of the WDBS Manchester Classic competition.

And in June he was seeded as number one in the knockout stages of the WDBS Welsh Open, before being knocked out in the quarter finals by Daniel Blunn, who later won the tournament.

He said: 'I joined the WDBS this year, and third time lucky I won the big one.

'I was so relieved, because I knew I was capable, but wasn't getting the success.'

The former Hewett High School pupil plays in the WDBS due to his rare neurological condition, which causes facial paralysis.

He also has a severe leg impairment from an accident in 2013 in which a car hit him and knocked him through a brick wall.

Mr Church said the sport allowed him to get away from the troubles of life.

'I love snooker because it's my escape from depression and troubles off the table,' he said.

'I get such a buzz out of the game.

'I've never been so emotionally ingrained in anything like I am with snooker.'

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