Pool in Gibraltar is prospering like never before!
Gibraltar is home to an enthusiastic collection of pool players,
some highly skilled, others still learning and developing, and almost
all of them highly competitive. The Gibraltar Pool Association’s
annual league competition is made up of 3 divisions of 10 teams
each and can boast over 300 players which, for such a small
community (Gibraltar’s total population is around 33,000
residents, so almost 10%), which is pretty impressive!
Gibraltar’s very own home of pool is the Gibraltar Pool
Association’s (GPA) Academy. Set at Jumper’s Bastion within easy
reach of most residential districts, this facility provides five top
quality tables for GPA members to use to practice their sport, and
carry out those essential drills between competitions.
The Academy is also the venue for the Cup and Plate Finals, and
for the Singles and Doubles finals, all their principle annual
competitions. This year, the GPA has begun a programme of
monthly tournaments to take place at the Academy, with the aim
of fostering the growing interest in the sport, and to give the
various teams and International players as much competitive
practice as possible. The standard of pool playing is steadily lifting
as planned, and just like any sport, only consistent practice can
make perfect, leaving this facility as a tremendous boost to the
sport and one to be applauded by us all.
A venue for practice, tournaments and training, the Academy is
also the birthplace of many a friendship, as well as the obligatory
friendly rivalries: pool players are nothing if not competitive and it
is this edge, fostered by friendly practice games at the Academy,
that help the players develop that competitive sharpness to take
them further towards victory in International competitions.
Like all other sports, pool is a game of skill, strategy, stamina and
mental endurance, and players need many hours of practice to
reach the top levels of the game. The Academy is their second
home, a place where they can develop those skills, try out new
tactics, work, work and work some more until they achieve their
individual and team ambitions.
One of the GPA’s most important roles is to introduce youngsters
to the sport and coach junior players. The future stars of Gibraltar
pool are coached at the Academy on a weekly basis. Competitions
are great for keeping the youngsters interested and enjoying their
chosen sport, and the friendly atmosphere of the Academy is the
perfect place for them to enjoy one of the world’s best games, and
to be fair, it is working.
The GPA is hugely proud of its special needs players, and rightly
so. All the current members in this category are International
players of excellent standard, having recently been victorious over
players from England, Ireland and Wales, they train at the
Academy on a weekly basis.
International tournaments are a hugely important feature of the
game of pool in Gibraltar, and the Academy hosts National
qualifiers, games through which the top players can be selected to
represent their Country in the Gibraltar squad. The squads
comprise the Under 18s, Under 23s, Special Needs, Men’s,
Ladies, Over 40s and Over 50s. In January 2016 the monthly
rounds of qualifiers started for the selection for the 2017 squads.
The current national squad has just recently been selected and is
already in training for this year’s European and World
Championships, as well as the Nations Cup later in the year, and
will no doubt do Gibraltar proud as always.
There is no question that the sport of pool in Gibraltar is thriving,
and local venues also attract players and enthusiasts from the
nearby Costa del Sol and Southern Spain on a more informal
basis. Local businesses provide a great deal of support to the
teams through sponsorship, the local press are happy to promote
news on the sport and Gibraltar’s government provide funding to
support the work of the GPA, which includes support for the
National squad and with its beautiful location in the
Mediterranean, vibrant community and up and coming talent,
Gibraltar pool is prospering like never before, and will continue to
do so for the foreseeable future.
SPOT LIGHT ON...