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The winning Essay by Vichian Sutipornprachum

My interest in snooker was first provoked in the early 90s by a young Thai snooker player: James Wattana. This entry concerns the memorable maximum that Wattana compiled in the 1992 Pearl Assurance British Open against Tony Drago. There are two main reasons why I feel that this maximum remains, at least for me, the most memorable one out of all the maximums I have witnessed. Before I even begin stating my reasons, I would like to remind snooker fans that this particular 147 by Wattana was the first televised maximum in eight years; hence, it erupted a nostalgic feeling among those who witnessed his spectacular show.

As for me, it was a great pity that I missed seeing this live. (I was only 12 years old back then, and it was way past my bed time when BBC broadcasted Wattana's max over to Thailand.) Nevertheless, I did have a second chance to view his great feat when Thailand's Channel 7 news staff, who usually show only 30 seconds worth of sport highlights, dedicated 7 minutes and 9 seconds for the people of Thailand to see Wattana compile perfection. Hence, this is the first reason why this is so memorable for me. It is not only because of the fact that Wattana is the first Asian in snooker history to compile a televised maximum, but it is the fact that the Thai television network agreed to postpone, for seven minutes, all their program schedules in order to show us Wattana's achievement.

My second reason, however, is one of tragedy. The fact that the good news of Wattana's max was abrubtly shattered by the news of his father's murder was just too much for me to overcome in one night. I did not know how to feel. It was as if I was torn between two extremes; as if my tears were that of both joy and sadness. I felt numb all over. I could not put these two contrasting events together and form a single opinion about Wattana's situation. I had mixed feelings and was in a state of agony. If all this made a spectator like me feel this way, just imagine how Wattana felt. It would have been my state at that moment multiplied by a thousand times. Biased as I may be, but I feel that Wattana is the most altruistic snooker player with the intent of great sportsmanship. He played snooker for his country, but in the process, he had to lose a father.

Thus, these are the two main reasons why I feel that Wattana's 147 remains most memorable in my mind. It is a break that will stand the test of time! (Thank-you for putting his picture on the Snookernet webpage!!)

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