Muswellbrook pool player Aaron Batchelor is determined to win against the odds at the Sydney 8-Ball Masters

TO be the best, you need to beat the best.

And, that's exactly what Muswellbrook pool player Aaron Batchelor hopes to achieve at the Sydney 8-Ball Masters at the end of the year.

What makes his quest that bit more remarkable is the fact he'll face able-bodied professionals for the first time, too.

Batchelor lost the use of his left arm, and that side of his body, after suffering a stroke at the age of nine.

But, he's not allowing that setback to derail his aspirations.

"I simply want to test myself - and succeed by being the first disabled player to contest it," he said.

"Hopefully, this will inspire, and encourage, others with a disability to follow their dreams.

"And, if I can raise some awareness along the way then that's a bonus.

"Maybe, just maybe, we might have a disabled 8-ball tournament on the calendar one day.

"I love pool; and I'm keen to become a better competitor.

"My ultimate goal is to be the best disabled player in NSW.

"Although I know it's a long road ahead."

Batchelor's life was turned upside-down 25 years ago.

While getting dressed for school, he simply collapsed.

Doctors later revealed he had suffered bleeding on the brain, which would affect the left side of his body.

"I honestly don't remember much [of the incident]," he said.

"However, I understand it was touch and go for a while.

"Even though I had to learn to walk all over again, I dealt with the situation pretty well as a kid.

"High school, though, was a different matter.

"I was the target of bullying and ended up with depression.

"Luckily, I came out on the other side.

"Now, I'm keen to prove to people that I can play sport at an elite level."

And, pool, or 8-ball as it is also known, has been Batchelor's saviour, especially in recent times.

"About four years ago, I picked up a cue with some of my mates," he said.

"They saw potential in me.

"Since then, they've kept pushing me to play.

"So, at the start of 2019, I said to myself 'this is my year, I'm going to do it'.

"Now, I'm on the road to achieving that [by contesting the Sydney 8-Ball Masters].

"I'm passionate about this sport and just want to be successful."

Batchelor's also chalking up plenty of support in his home-town, too.

"I've set up a GoFundMe page, and the community's donated more than $550 so far," he said.

"Coolmore's chipped in with another $500 as well.

"I need about $2800 for two special cues - the money's going towards them.

"So, I'm extremely thankful for everyone's assistance.

"Everything is falling into place."

To help Batchelor on his journey, visit his GoFundMe page at https://www.facebook.com/donate/643433366088068/?fundraiser_source=external_url