If you had asked me a week ago to name one adventure I never thought possible in my lifetime, I could very well have told you a trip to Sheffield to meet a vegan snooker champion was not going to happen.
But check this out!
I rolled out of bed extra early this morning to catch a coach from London to Sheffield in order to attend the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre.
What a strange thing to do for someone who has never played or watched snooker in their life, right?
Here’s the reason: Neil Robertson.
Neil is a professional snooker player who has reached the lofty heights of World Champion in 2010 and has been ranked the number one player in the world during the same year as well as in 2013 and 2014. He is considered the best snooker player to ever come out of Australia and doesn’t seem to be anywhere near finished collecting trophies.
Oh, yeah. I almost forget. Neil Robertson only eats vegan food.
It was Neil’s management who reached out to ask if I would be interested in seeing the snooker superstar in action during the World Championships. I jumped at the chance.
Neil met with me only moments before his 2nd round match and I was blown away by what a friendly and relaxed guy was standing before me. He was the definition of chilled out and certainly didn’t show any nerves related to being part of a globally televised live sporting event.
I’m not 100% sure where Neil is on his vegan journey, but I did find this interview from last year which reported:
Robertson doesn’t refer to himself as a vegan, conscious that some of his clothes contain products from animals but he has not ruled out travelling that path in the future.
He explained: “That’s why I say I am on a plant-based diet. I am not going to say I am vegan because, obviously, my snooker shoes are made out of leather. That is something I will possibly address in time but, at the moment, it is just for health benefits.
“Learning what takes place in the slaughter houses isn’t great. I guess most people possibly turn a bit of a blind eye. You know, but you don’t really want to know how it is actually done and I was one of those.
“It is one of those things I will get to. Just learning what I need to eat, and things to avoid eating – I need to do a lot more reading and research because I am only really at the start of it.”
I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Neil, but of course his friendly personality was just the warm up. Neil Robertson is a skilled and passionate snooker professional.
Having entered the venue as a complete snooker novice, I found myself on the edge of my seat as Neil took a commanding lead over his component Ali Carter.
It is fantastic to see a vegan-aware sports professional performing at the top of their field. Let’s hope that his awareness of the benefits of plant based eating lead him to see what leading a vegan lifestyle can do for improving outcomes for other living creatures. It sounds like he is on the right track.
And let’s get this guy some vegan snooker shoes!
Follow Neil on Twitter and make sure you send him support for the rest of the World Championships. You can also check out his official website.
Yeah, my partner was telling me about this the other day! Looks like there are a lot of snooker players following in the footsteps of Peter Ebden now – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/snooker/32421212
[…] from the opening. You will not have to try very hard to spot former world champion snooker player Neil Robertson. Neil was on hand to lend his weight to the new endeavour as he has been eating exclusively-vegan […]