Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn defeated Mohamed Shehab in the final to win the 2016 Asian Amateur Snooker Championship. The first time he has claimed the title himself, Lertsattayathorn becomes the eleventh different player from Thailand to have done so.
Held in Doha, Qatar, it was the 32nd edition of this continental championship with players from 20 different nations on show throughout.
Lertsattayathorn qualified from his group having won three of his four matches, losing only to former professional Habib Subah (Bahrain).
In the knockout rounds leading up to the final he was taken to a deciding frame twice, ousting Fung Kwok Wai (Hong Kong) 4-3 in the last 32 and Mohammed Asif (Pakistan) 5-4 in the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals he faced the highly fancied Pankaj Advani from India – last year’s runner-up – although he compiled a break of 142 on his way to a 5-3 victory. The effort would stand as the tournament’s highest.
Whilst it was Lertsattayathorn’s maiden appearance in the final, it was United Arab Emirates cueist Shehab’s second having featured in the 2006 title match in Sri Lanka.
A top tier player in the past, Shehab had a very similar passage to the final early on, but he dropped only a frame in each of his previous three KO matches, culminating in a 5-1 elimination of Amir Sarkhosh (Iran) in the last four.
Current west Asian champion Shehab began the final well as a run of 52 helped him take the opening frame. However, it would be the only time he led as Lertsattayathorn chalked up six of the next seven frames to record a 6-2 triumph.
The result means that the Thai will be offered a guaranteed two-year World Snooker tour card. Should he accept it, it would be his debut as a professional.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 23rd April 2016.