Top Lao snooker player Sitthideth hones his shots

Posted by samakomlao Monday, June 8, 2009

Snooker star Sitthideth Satbieng is clocking up more experience in the region as he eyes a gold medal in the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane in December.

Sitthideth rocketed to the top of the sport in Laos after winning no less than three gold medals in the men's singles, men's doubles and men's team (three players) events in the eighth National Games in Champassak province last December.

He represented Savannakhet province in the games.

He worked as a resident professional at a snooker club in Bangkok , Thailand , for two years, and has competed in international competition in Division 2. Events in this division are held five times a year.

He will return to the Thai club after competing in the SEA Games.

The Lao Billiard and Snooker Federation lacks the funding to hold national snooker competitions several times a year and also lacks equipment.

Sitthideth, 26, was born in Xeno village in Savannakhet's Outhoum-phone district and began playing when he was 13 years old.

He and his teammates train on the tables at the federation's facilities in Vientiane every day under the guidance of Lao trainers.

They are expecting a Thai coach to arrive to improve their skills and have been training since March, living in the federation's dormitory.

The Lao snooker starting team consists of three women and seven men. There are a further five substitutes among the men, selected by the federation at the Eighth National Games.

The players come from Vientiane and from Savannakhet and Champassak provinces.

Sitthideth said he had learnt his techniques from top players in Thailand .

He said he was gaining in confidence and thought he had a chance of winning a medal in the SEA Games.

However, it would be difficult to beat the Thai team, which has the top-ranked players in the region.

Sitthideth and his teammates will be in Thailand from August to September for pre-games training.

In the meantime, the federation will hold the Snooker Open in Vientiane next month, with competitions for young up-and-comers as well as an open and masters meet.

The Lao snooker team currently occupies seventh place in the South East Asian rankings.

Federation secretary Mr Arsa Mahisanant said the Lao players had the chance of a podium finish at the SEA Games if they could avoid an early showdown with strong players from Malaysia , the Philippines and Thailand .

Events will comprise men's and women's singles and men's and women's doubles.

Apart from snooker, the tables will also be busy with billiard and pool events in the same categories.

By Sangkhomsay Bubphanouvong

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