The standard of snooker facilities continues to rise with a growing number of official academies being launched across the world.
During their visit to the recent SangSom Six Red World Championship in Thailand both WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson and Vice Chairman Nigel Mawer visited the Hi-End Club, home to several tables fitted to professional standards with tournament quality lighting and elite talent from the country.
“The Hi-End club in Thailand is a shining example of a smoke-free, safe and clean environment where athletes can practise snooker at the highest level,” said Ferguson.
“When we launched our first International Snooker Academy in Bangkok back in 2011 we did so with the goal of promoting the growth of snooker in the region and boosting the development of snooker at all levels. To now see new facilities such as Hi-End supporting the work that we are doing is exactly what we want to see.”
A name synonymous with snooker in Thailand is former world number three James Wattana, the 47-year-old who continues to compete on the World Snooker Tour today as an Invitational Tour Card Holder. Back home, the three-time ranking event winner has also recently moved into club ownership, with the launch of the World Class Snooker Club by James Wattana and Jason Ferguson has also been to see the club in recent days.
“It is always great to see James, an old friend and one of the finest players in the world during my own playing career,” said Ferguson. “It is fantastic to see someone as well respected and who has already made such a significant contribution to snooker in Asia as James has, now putting even more back into the game in this way.
Michael Holt and Stuart Bingham also paid a visit
“The facilities at both clubs that I have visited this week in Thailand are absolutely top class and the perfect environment for any aspiring player to train and improve their game. It is also important to see high quality snooker coaches available on site, including former professional Dechawat Poomjaeng who can help players to improve their game.”
The Sangsom Six Red World Championship was won by former world number one Mark Williams, his fourth world title having twice won the professional World Championship and most recently the World Seniors Championship in 2015.
SangSom has sponsored the event since its inception back in 2008 and have also supported a number of current and former Thai professionals in recent years.