Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong beat Lei Peifan 4-1 in the final round of Asia-Oceania Q School Event One in Bangkok, regaining a place on the pro tour after a three-year absence.
In the other semi-final, Thailand’s Manasawin Phetmalaikul beat China’s Ka Wai Cheung to earn a place on the tour for the first time.
Thor, age 35, earns a two-year card for the World Snooker Tour for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. He previously competed on the circuit for six seasons between 2014 and 2020 and has reached the last 32 of four ranking events.
Having won four matches to reach today’s final round in Thailand, Thor made breaks of 106 and 58 to take a 2-0 lead. China’s Lei, who was relegated from the tour at the end of last season, pulled a frame back, but Thor then won the next two to seal the result.
“I’m very pleased with the win today,” he said. “I have prepared myself well, entering this year’s Thailand Ranking Circuit. The gold medal in snooker singles at the South East Asian Games in Cambodia earlier in May really boosted me up for the Q School.
“I just played my game today, trying to relax and continue with good breaks to keep the game under control. To be able to get back on the tour has been on my mind since I dropped off and always wanted to go back. It is very good that I can qualify here in Thailand rather than going to qualify in the UK as the cost is much less coming here. It is very good for all Asian players to have the opportunities to qualify here. The venue is great and the table condition is perfect. All the hard work I have put in over the past months has now paid off.”
Phetmalaikul has been based in England for several years as his father Chusak owns the Q House snooker academy in Darlington, home to the likes of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Zhou Yuelong.
Breaks of 99, 82 and 65 today helped 24-year-old Phetmalaikul to a comfortable victory. He said: “The standard of snooker is just as good here as it is in the UK Q School. I really had to be on top of my game to get through each round especially today as Cheung has compiled many big breaks this week.
“I have always been keen to become a professional player. I first picked up the cue when I was 14 and it took me ten years to finally make my dreams come true. I would like to thank my dad and my family for their tremendous support.”
The match was presided over by Assisant Prof. Dr. Veeris Ammarapala, the governor of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, as guest of honour along with Mr. Suntorn Jarumon, President of Billiard Sports Association of Thailand and his board members.
Event two gets underway on Wednesday.
Article by WST.