Perhaps Thailand finally has someone who can emulate the achievements of James Wattana.

Yesterday, Thepchaiya Un Nooh, who is 23, beat Colm Gilcresst 11-7 to win the IBSF World Amateur Championship in Wels, Austria.

He had beaten Wattana on the way to the final and compiled breaks of 143 and 139 in defeating Gilcreest.

It’s worth remembering that Thailand was the leading place for snooker outside of the UK for several years throughout the 1990s.

Players were treated like pop stars and Wattana’s success inspired a nation to become interested in the game.

Yet the last of 14 ranking events to be staged in Thailand was back in 2002. There is no imminent sign of a return.

Let's hope Thepchaiya's emergence will reignite interest in this once snooker-mad country.


Anonymous said...

Definitely one for the commentators to have fun with!

Anonymous said...

I was in Thailand last year and they are still a snooker mad country. The problem is, like everywhere else, to secure sponsorship.

Both tobacco and liquor sponsorship had been banned, but liquor has had a temporary reprieve, partly due the to the King's 80th Birthday last year.

Thus we were able to have the superb Sangsom as sponsors of the 2007 IBSF Wolrd championships last year and of the 6-red event earlier this summer - and I believe that sponsorship has now been secured for three years for the 6-reds event.

There has been ample evidence in Thailand and some other Asian countries (thankfully not China yet) that consumers like the quick fix snooker such as the 6-reds and that television like the format too, so it may still be a while before we say a full 15-red ranking event again in Thailand.

But like 20-20 cricket, the short form of snooker is still a viable game, appealing to a large audience and attracts sponsors and media and creates earning opportunities for players.

Anonymous said...

If this was an amateur competiton, why was Wattana competing