Thepchaiya Un-nooh: A star in the making?

The recent winner of the 2008 IBSF World Amateur Championship Thephchaiya Un-nooh will be on the main tour next season and for those of you wanting to know a little more about him, here is a very interesting article as reported in the Bangkok Post…

The most interesting information to come from the article is as follows:

  • He is 23 years old
  • He is also known as “F Nakhon Nayok”
  • He is 1.85m tall
  • He is decribed as one of the best Thai players ever seen by the President of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand
  • His strengths are apparently his accuracy and his discipline
  • He is compared to Ronnie O’Sullivan, though with a better temperament
  • Unlike most, he learned to play the game at school as a student, rather than at snooker clubs
  • He will be competing in the PIOS during the second half of this season to help him get used to the environment at Prestatyn, presumably starting at event six next February
  • He will be apparently be sponsored by Beer Chang

While comparisons with O’Sullivan should be treated with caution, he did play very well in Austria to win the IBSF title and his other results suggest that he will stand a decent chance of making the grade on the professional circuit. That said it is notoriously difficult for young players to survive on the main tour, particularly on their first attempt so expectations should be kept in check.

Still though, it would be nice to see another Thai doing well and following in the footsteps of James Wattana. Last year’s IBSF champion Atthasit Mahitthi is himself playing well so far this season so perhaps we might have two of them in years to come!

The full article is as follows:

With his stunning triumph at the world amateur snooker championship, Thepchaiya Un-nooh is expected to shine on the professional circuit.

The 23-year-old cueist won the IBSF World Men’s Snooker Championship by defeating Ireland’s Colm Gilcreest 11-7 at Rotaxhalle in Austria at the weekend.

He became Thailand’s sixth world amateur champion after James Wattana (1988), Noppadol Noppachorn (1991), Chuchat Trairatanapradit (1993), Sakchai Simngarm (1995) and Atthasit Mahithi (2007).

Thepchaiya, better known as “F Nakhon Nayok,” is compared to Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm (James Wattana) and three-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan of England.

The Thai snooker bosses believe Thepchaiya is good enough for the professional tour and could revive the popularity of the sport in Thailand.

“F could become a new Tong (Ratchapol),” said Sindhu Pulsirivongse, president of the Billiard Sports Association of Thailand (BSAT).

“He is one of the best Thai players I have ever seen. We have been looking for a new Tong for 20 years.”

Sindhu said Thepchaiya had everything to become the country’s new hope on the international stage.

“His strength is his accuracy. He also has discipline,” he said.

Sakda Rattanasuban, Ratchapol’s mentor and a BSAT senior official, said Thepchaiya needed a few more years of experience to become a star on the professional circuit.

“His accuracy could be compared to that of Ronnie O’Sullivan. The difference is Thepchaiya can control his temper better,” Sakda said.

While most Thai players learned to play the sport in snooker halls, Thepchaiya learned it at school.

He is the first Thai student champion to have won the world amateur title and this could make the sport popular among students.

Thepchaiya, who stands 1.85m tall, will next year join the professional circuit and be based in England, along with Atthasit.

Sindhu believes the Nakhon Nayok native will be there to stay and be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.

“In his debut year, I am sure that you will witness his potential,” declared Sindhu.

“And in the next few years, he will make the cue sport popular in Thailand again.”

Before the professional season begins in June, Thepchaiya will play on the challenge tour from February to April, also in England.

This is aimed for him to gain experience and get used to the English weather and culture.

His campaign on the professional tour will be boosted by Beer Chang which will give him and Atthasit 1,200 (approx 63,000 baht) a month each.