The 2002 Asian games took place at Busan, South Korea over the first
eight days of October. Once more, billiards was a featured cue-sport
with matches contested as best of three 100-up games.
Mike Russell’s ten day stint of coaching for the Thailand billiards team
seemed to pay dividends as Rom Surin (playing under his alternative
identity of Praput Chaithanasakun) and Mongkol Kanfaklang took the
gold medal in the pairs, soon followed by a gold in the singles for
Praput. Kanfaklang, (also know as Tik Korat) is seventy years old, and
with this victory became the oldest competitor to win an Asian Games
Gold Medal. He was taught billiards by his father when he was nineteen
and says that he continues the tradition by teaching youngsters “for at
least eight hours a day” at his local snooker club in Thailand. It was
there that he met his current wife, 19 year-old Chanchira.
The doubles event had seen Praput and Mongkol defeat the formidable
pairing of Geet Sethi an Alok Kumar 2-1 in the final. The Myanmar
(Burma) team of Kyaw Oo U and Aung San Oo U took the bronze
This was to be a deeply disappointing Games for the strong Indian cuesports
team. They ran into trouble before they even left the country
when a selection committee member complained of favouritism in the
process. Local newspapers subsequently being filled with the allegations.
Although there was no doubt about the selection of Geet Sethi, it
seemed there was some uncertainty about the event in which he should
play. As the entries were announced it was noticed that Sethi was
entered for the Pool event rather than Billiards!
Embarrassment was temporarily avoided as high level meetings resulted
in the entry belatedly being switched. However, Sethi then incredibly
crashed out in the semi-finals to previously unknown Kyaw Oo U
from Myanmar. Showing wonderful composure in the deciding game,
Kyaw contrived a cannon from Sethi’s break and took the match with
However, he could not reproduce his giant-killing performance in the
final, going down to Praprut 2-0 in the final. Sethi had the consolation
of a bronze medal, winning the play-off against Aung San Oo U, also of
Myanmar, by the same margin.
Geet Sethi (Ind) 2 Udon Khaimuk (Thailand) 1 Oo Kyaw U (Myanmar) 2 Loon Hong Moh (Mal) 0 Praput Chaithanasakun (Thai) 2 Hee Hwa Sim (Mal) 0 Aung San Oo U (Myan) 2 Devendra Joshi (Ind) 0
Kyaw Oo U 2 Geet Sethi 1 Praput Chaithanasakun 2 Aung San Oo U 0
Geet Sethi 2 Aung San Oo U 0
Praput Chaithanasakun 2 Kyaw Oo U 0
Sethi/Kumar (Ind) 2 Thanh Long Nguyen/Trung Kien Nguyen (Viet) 0 Kyaw/Aung (Myan) 2 Henry Boteju/Khobala Sirisoma (Sri) 1 Yousef/Khalil (Pak) 2 Seng-Chil Park/Wan-Su Lee (Kor) 0 Praput/Kanfaklang (Thai) 2 Loon Hong Moh/Chee Hwa Sim (Mal) 0
Sethi/Kumar (Ind) 2 Kyaw/Aung (Myan) 1 Praput/Kanfaklang (Thai) 2 Yousef/Khalil (Pak) 0
Kyaw/Aung San (Myan) 2 Khahil/Yousef (Pak) 0
Praput/Kanfalklang (Thai) 2 Sethi/Kumar (Ind) 1