Kok Leong finds seasoned Wattana too hot to handle

Experience counts: Lim Kok Leong (left) congratulating James Wattana after he won the singles final. — Bernama

LIM Kok Leong was fidgeting in his chair while his rival James Wattana hardly showed any emotion.

In the end, experience prevailed as the Thai snooker legend clawed his way back from 1-2 down to win the singles final 4-2, dashing Kok Leong’s hopes of a golden double in Hanoi.

Kok Leong was off to a good start at the Ha Dong Gymnasium yesterday when he took the first frame 75-24 but Wattana made it all square by taking the second 88-34.

Kok Leong, however, restored the advantage by taking the third frame 70-25 but the pressure eventually caught up with him in his first final appearance in the Games’ singles competition.

The 52-year-old Wattana edged Kok Leong 65-48 and took the next frame 83-33.

Wattana then put the fight beyond Kok Leong’s reach with a 67-42 win in the sixth frame and the former world No. 3 was all smiles after finally claiming the gold that has eluded him in his illustrious career.

Kok Leong let slip an opportunity to capture his second gold after he won the 6-red snooker singles on his 27th birthday on May 17.

“I was leading 2-1 and I could have made it 3-1. But I made a lot of mistakes along the way and could not come back,” said Kok Leong.

“Wattana has 30 years of experience as a pro, so he knew what he needed to do to force his way back.

“Maybe my mood was not as good as what it was in the earlier rounds. Then, I was playing in the afternoon and evening but the final today was in the morning. I had to wake up at 6.30am to get ready and it kind of affected my performance.

“But anyway, I’m happy with two finals here,” said the Penangite, who is the reigning national champion.

Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation president Melvin Chia rued Kok Leong’s slip.

“We could have won a second gold today. Wattana was also not at his best but he used his experience to capitalise on Kok Leong’s mistakes,” said Melvin.

“Anyway, we contributed three medals (one gold, one silver and one bronze) when we only targeted to maintain the two medals won in the Philippines in 2019.”

In 2019, Moh Keen Hoo partnered Kok Leong to win the snooker doubles but the event was omitted in Hanoi.

Keen Hoo, who was a silver medallist in the snooker singles in Manila, contributed a bronze in the 6-red event.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights



Next In Others

Olympics-USA Nordic slams IOC decision not to add women's combined to 2026 Games
Olympics-Each sport must set transgender rules says IOC despite criticism
Olympics-IBA will not be in charge of Paris 2024 boxing competition, qualifiers-IOC
Olympics-Women's Nordic combined not part of 2026 Olympics-IOC
Binance scores Cristiano Ronaldo as partner for NFT push
Sport-Badminton federation begins research process for transgender policy
Navratilova calls out IOC for lack of leadership on transgender issue
Sport-Hockey, triathlon join raft of sports reviewing transgender policy
Final bill for Tokyo 2020 Olympics comes in at $10.4 billion
Naomi Osaka and LeBron James launch new media company

Others Also Read