Tirapongpaiboon Captures Asian U-21 Title


Hot on the heels of Mitchell Mann’s victory at the European Championship, yesterday saw Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon triumph at the 15th Asian U-21 Championship, defeating Iran’s Siyavosh Mozayani 6-1 in the final.

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  • Click here to view all of the results from the 2014 Asian U-21 Championship

Having already spent three season’s on the professional circuit, on paper, 20-year-old Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon always had the look of a favourite for the Asian under-21 Championship and he duly progressed through the group stages with little trouble, dropping just three frames along the way.

Progress to the overall final was to prove similarly smooth, with the exception of his quarter-final match against Malaysia’s Sheldon Senagang, when he win the last three frames from 3-2 down to progress.

His opponent in the final would be an Iranian, not the more well-known Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, but his countryman Siyavosh Mozayani, who had come through two deciding frames to make it that far.

The final was to prove more one-sided however, as after dropping the opening frame, it was Tirapongpaiboon who won the next six to capture the title.

Going one better than back in 2010 when he finished as runner-up to China’s Liu Chuang, in normal circumstances Thanawat would now earn a two-year tour card from the 2014/15 season, securing another of the three remaining tour cards still to be decided.

As pointed out on Twitter by David Grace yesterday however, there is a long-standing rule, stated within World Snooker’s tour qualification criteria which states:

“Players may not re-qualify onto the Tour via an amateur event which carries a guaranteed Tour place for the following season.”

Of course Thanawat has just dropped off the circuit following the expiration of his previous two-year card, so whether this means that the place will go to runner-up Mozayani remains to be seen. Given the difficulties that countryman Hossein Vafaei Ayouri has encountered in attempting to secure a visa however, it is difficult to imagine that he would prove any more successful if he were to receive a tour nomination.

More on that when I hear it…