We all like a game of pool in the local pub and whilst I only seem to get worse with every visit I make to the green table, friends alike often rebel with each win, attempting trick shots, using their opposite hand and, if they feel really rambunctious, even use their mouth to try and pot the winning ball, the latter obviously coming to no avail. That’s not been the case for Darren Madden though who has made a career from the pin-point accuracy he gets potting by using his mouth.
The 47-year-old was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a condition that causes multiple curved joints and has left him with very little use of his arms and hands. Last May, Darren, nicknamed Skippy by his brother, finished runner up in the European Championships and also represented England helping them reach the semi-finals in the team event.
Darren’s selection to the England team came about when a video of the pool maestro competing in 2017 was viewed more than half a million times on YouTube. Having committed and dedicated himself to pool for nearly 20 years, ‘Skippy’ has competed at national, European and world level and in 2018, won the EBPF national singles event becoming one of the country’s top disabled players.
CommunityAd caught up with Darren to find out more…
What are your earliest memories of playing pool and how did you find out you had incredible potting accuracy with your mouth?
I started playing when I was about 14 at Youth Club and it was the only way I could think of playing. Lots of practice has enabled me to get to where I am in the game.
Despite your condition, you have never let that get in the way of your incredible accomplishments in the sport. How have you been able to drive and motivate yourself day after day?
I have never been a person that gives up. With everything I do, I want to do the best that I can be. There is always a way to overcome hurdles that are put in front of you, but you must have the right mentality to achieve your goals.
You have attracted a lot of crowds from your incredible playing style, how does it feel to have your own fanbase of supporters cheering you on?
It is truly amazing, I never expected all the attention, but it does make you feel great, to hear and see all the support.
You’re a great role model for many people, is there a particular ethos you live your life by?
Never give up, with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.
What are you most proud of achieving so far in your pool career?
Being selected for the England Specials Team.
2018 – National Champion.
2018 – World Championships -England Team Bronze – I cleared up to win the deciding frame.
2019 – European Individuals Runner Up.
2019 – Nations Cup winners in Cyprus. I cleared up in my first visit, to win the trophy for England.
Do you have a 5-10-year vision of what you would like to achieve in the sport?
I want to win a European or World Individual Title, as well as many more tournaments with England.
Away from pool, what are your hobbies and interests?
Football – I am a big Wolves fan.
Driving – I am a Volunteer Driver for The Shepway Volunteer Bureau.
What do you enjoy most about living in Romney?
I live in St Mary’s Bay which is a nice quiet area, with lovely neighbours. Most people on the Marsh are very friendly, caring and supportive.