Sunny Akani has to be one of the most hard working players on the tour. The Thai player earned a two-year tour card by winning the ACBS Asian Under 21 Snooker Championship back in 2015.
The 2016 World Championship was his first ever ranking event qualifier and endured a close match losing 10-9 against compatriot Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the opening round. Akani then went on to reach the quarter finals of the Indian Open and the 6 Red World Championship and got to the third round of the Northern Ireland Open knocking out Cao Yupeng 4-1 and experienced player Mark Davis 4-3. Akani’s run continued by defeating former world champion Graeme Dott and Jack Lisowski to qualify for the German Masters. Akani nearly made it through all three rounds to qualify for the 2017 World Championship by beating Mei Xiwen 10-5 and Joe Perry 10-9 but didn’t make it past the final hurdle and took a heavy 10-3 defeat by David Grace.
Akani’s match play in the 2017 UK Championship showed he can fend off even the higher ranked players by beating seeds such as Fergal O’Brien, Michael Holt and former world championship runner-up Barry Hawkins. The young Thai player found himself not only in the last 16 but had to go up against former five times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, probably a dream come true.
Akani was ahead the entire match before losing 6-5, Ronnie couldn’t deny that his opponent was worthy of a victory more than himself and he stated he believed Akani “deserved to win” and “felt like I robbed him of victory”.
Not only is Akani a hard working dedicated player he is also a very well mannered polite young man and a credit to the game. He is known to go straight onto the practice table inbetween matches and after, there is no stopping his determination and work ethic and always has his dad by his side to help him.
By Emma Maflin
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