James Wattana

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James Wattana
James Wattana at Snooker German Masters (DerHexer) 2013-01-30 13.jpg
James Wattana at 2013 German Masters
Born (1970-01-17) January 17, 1970 (age 46)
Bangkok, Thailand
Sport country  Thailand
Nickname Thai-Phoon[1]
Thai Tornado
Tong Sit Choi (in Thailand)
Professional 1989–2008, 2009–2014
Highest ranking 3 (1994/95)
Career winnings £1,690,278[2]
Highest break 147 (x3)
Century breaks 160[3]
Tournament wins
Ranking 3
Non-ranking 6
James Wattana
Medal record
Men's Snooker
Asian Games
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Guangzhou Team
Asian Indoor Games
Silver medal – second place 2007 Macau Individual

James Wattana (born January 17, 1970, as Wattana Pu-Ob-Orm, then renamed Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm in 2003) is a Thai former professional snooker player who now competes as an amateur.

A professional between 1989 and 2008 and again from 2009 to 2014, Wattana reached his highest ranking position - 3rd - for the 1994/1995 season. He has won three ranking tournaments - the 1992 Strachan Challenge and the Thailand Open in 1994 and 1995 - and has finished as the runner-up in a further five. He twice reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship, in 1993 and 1997.


Wattana won his first major tournament, the Camus Thailand Masters, in 1986, aged only 16. He turned professional in 1989, after winning the 1988 World Amateur Championship. His career peaked in the mid-1990s, when he twice won the Thailand Open and rose to number three in the world rankings. Prior to Wattana becoming a professional, snooker had been dominated by British (and to a lesser extent Irish, Canadian and Australian) players.

He was the eighth professional player to earn more than £1 million in prize money, and with three maximums he is one of only seven players to have scored more than two maximum breaks in competition. He scored his first one in 1991 at the World Masters and the second at the 1992 British Open,[4] which was then, at six minutes and nine seconds, the fastest ever made.[5]

Wattana's success caught the imagination of the Thai public, and he became the most admired sportsman in his home country.[6] He helped raise the profile of the game in the Far East, and has been followed into the game by many players from Thailand, Hong Kong, and China, the most successful ones being Marco Fu and Ding Junhui. He is a Commander Third Class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, only the second sportsman to receive the country's most prestigious civilian honour.

He reached the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1993 and 1997, in the latter losing narrowly to Stephen Hendry. After a strong 2004/2005 season he returned to the top 32 of the world rankings, despite being the first player since 1992 to lose a World Championship match 10–0. He did this in the final qualifying round against Allister Carter. By 2007 his continued poor form meant that he dropped off the main tour in 2008. He continued to play, however, and in 2008 he entered the World Amateur Championships in Wels, Austria where he lost to eventual champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in last 16. He won the 2009 Asian Championships in Tangshan, China after beating Mei Xiwen 7–3 in the final.

His position on the current provisional rankings received a huge boost with a run to the venue stage of the China Open thanks to four straight qualifying victories.

The 2011/12 season proved to be relatively good, managing to qualify in 2 of the 8 ranking events, the Shanghai Masters losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan 1–5 and the German Masters, beating Stephen Hendry 5–1 in the qualifiers, but then losing to Graeme Dott in the first round. At the end of the season he finished ranked 63, just inside the top 64.

In 2014, he lost his place on the professional snooker circuit, as he finished outside the top 64 on the official world rankings list at the end of the 2013/2014 season. However, he was one of three players awarded an invitational tour card for the next season - alongside Hendry and Steve Davis - and has since competed fairly regularly in tournaments as an amateur. In 2015 he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 3-10 to Jimmy White. In 2016 he lost in the first round of the qualifiers for the World Championship 6-10 to Peter Ebdon.

Tournament wins[edit]

Ranking finals: 8 (3 titles, 5 runner-up)[edit]

World Championship (0–0)
UK Championship (0–0)
Other (3–5)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1989 Asian Open Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry 6–9
Winner 1. 1992 Strachan Open England Parrott, JohnJohn Parrott 9–5
Runner-up 2. 1992 British Open England White, JimmyJimmy White 7–10
Runner-up 3. 1993 British Open England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 2–10
Runner-up 4. 1994 International Open England , John ParrottJohn Parrott 4–9
Winner 2. 1994 Thailand Open England Davis, SteveSteve Davis 9–7
Runner-up 5. 1994 British Open England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 4–9
Winner 3. 1995 Thailand Open England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 9–6

Non-ranking wins: (6)[edit]

  • Thailand Masters – 1986
  • Hong Kong Challenge – 1990
  • Humo Masters – 1992
  • World Matchplay – 1992
  • Kings Cup - 1994
  • Euro-Asia Masters Challenge, Leg 1 – 2003


  • ACBS Asian Championship – 1986, 1988, 2009
  • IBSF World Amateur Championship – 1988

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Wattana". snooker.org. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Career-total Statistics for James Wattana - Professional". CueTracker Snooker Results & Statistics Database. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Centuries". Pro Snooker Blog. Retrieved 8 November 2015. 
  4. ^ Turner, Chris. "Maximum Breaks". cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk. Chris Turner's Snooker Archive. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Hodgson, Guy. "O'Sullivan aims to realise maximum potential". The Independent on HighBeam Research. Retrieved 27 May 2012.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ Hodgson, Guy (1993-04-18). "Snooker: A storm coming in from the East:... James Wattana might just become one.". The Independent. Retrieved 1 Mar 2015. 

External links[edit]