Manasawin Phetmalaikul achieved his dream at Asia-Oceania Q School, earning a two-year professional card which means he will now compete on the World Snooker Tour alongside his girlfriend and Women’s World Champion Baipat Siripaporn.
Phetmalaikul, nicknamed Quid, grew up in Darlington after his Thai parents moved to England a couple of years before he was born. He made five unsuccessful attempts at qualifying for the tour through European Q School. However, Phetmalaikul prevailed in Bangkok earlier this month.
The 24-year-old defeated Hong Kong’s Ka Wai Cheung 4-1 in the final round of event two and earned his dream ticket to snooker’s top table. However, he admits that there were times that he wondered if would ever make it as a professional.
“It has been up and down for me. I am like any other player that has tried, sometimes come up short and not always been successful. It has been very tough. There were times I thought I wouldn’t make it, but that is one of the reasons I didn’t stop. Every time you have a question to yourself, there is always an answer. It is just about how hard you work and how much you dedicate to it,” said Phetmalaikul.
“It is a personal achievement to overcome those struggles. It doesn’t have to be snooker. It is beating your own self and overcoming the hurdles which have come your way. That is a good incentive to keep trying to be a better player. It is an amazing feeling in so many ways.
“I love snooker because of it being an individual sport. It is head to head and it is just you. Only you can control how you play. It is a skill you need to hone individually. You aren’t just trying to improve as a player, you are improving as a person. It is a brilliant sport to play.”
The success was made all the sweeter thanks to it coming in tandem with partner Baipat Siripaporn’s stunning victory at the Women’s World Championship. She became the second consecutive Thai player to capture the title, following Mink Nutcharut’s win in 2022. Siripaporn beat Chinese 19-year-old Bai Yulu 6-3 in the final to claim victory and earn her spot on the World Snooker Tour. It was a nerve wracking experience for Phetmalaikul watching from the side, but he can’t wait to share the start of his professional quest with Siripaporn.
“To see someone so close to you do so well is incredibly special. It gives me a lot of incentive to do my part and be as successful. To be there and see her do that brought me a lot of happiness and joy. I’ve been in Thailand for six or seven months preparing for Q School, so I was there to see her play in many things, including the World Championship. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game as tough, which required as much endurance, as that. I think the final was about eight hours long. At the end, as a person watching and supporting, I know the feeling of someone being more excited than the player. You always hear it is harder for those watching than playing. I understand that now. There were so many emotions.
“We met two years ago. There are various snooker tournaments in Thailand and we met at several events and became friends. We would watch films together and became close friends through snooker. We formed a bond and friendship through wanting each other to achieve in the game. Until now we hadn’t had all that much success. That made us closer. We wanted to help each other through difficult times.
“I don’t think many people would have imagined what we both would have achieved and that we would be professionals together heading into next year. That was our goal, but it is tough to do. Her winning the World Championship and me getting through Q School is something you wouldn’t have thought would be possible. It is still hard to digest. We know how hard it is. To do it in the same year is crazy.”
Phetmalaikul’s father Chusak established the Q House Academy in Darlington and it has become the perfect venue for his son to play. Now he has his tour card, Phetmalaikul believes the academy will be a huge advantage for him getting up to speed on the World Snooker Tour. His nickname of Quid was given to him by his father with the hope of it bringing him good luck.
“My father and my mother opened a local Thai supermarket and a restaurant when they first moved to the UK. That led on to snooker and many other things. I’m very happy we have the academy. My ultimate goal was to become a professional and it is a brilliant place for me to be able to play. There are so many good players around. It is another incentive to try to bring more and more good players to the academy. For me as a player it is special to play with people like Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Hossein Vafaei and it really helps me out.
“In Thailand we all have nicknames, which are a short abbreviation to our long name. Some things come about just because they might be a lucky charm. My father thought that because it is the slang for a pound, it might be lucky and bring some fortune. It is a short and easy nickname and a little thing which could help. My name is quite long so I needed it.”