Hosts Thailand included snooker at the 13th Asian Games so as to boost their medals tally. But now they are worried that the plum event will be plucked from their grasp by an outsider - Hong Kong's Marco Fu Ka-chun. That was evident from the views of the Thai snooker and billiards head coach Sakchai Sim-ngam who revealed that his team were perturbed by the challenge Fu represents to home favourite James Wattana Pu-Ob-orm in the singles competition. 'Although Wattana will certainly make the final, I still cannot guarantee he will win the gold medal,' said Sakchai yesterday. 'Two golds should surely fall into our hands. One from the doubles and the other from the team event. But in the singles we cannot underestimate the challenge from players like Shaukat Ali from Pakistan, and especially Marco Fu from Hong Kong,' the Thai coach warned. Fu and Wattana are in separate halves of the 36-man draw and are seeded to meet in the final. Fu's first-round opponent on Sunday will be the winner of a preliminary match between Hsia Hui-kai of Taiwan and Macau's Chou Nim-sam. All matches from the first round to the quarter-finals will be a best-of-nine frames format. The semis will be best-of-11 frames, while the final is best-of-13 frames. The Thais are really worried. They were expecting to make a clean sweep of the 10 gold medals on offer for the snooker, American pool and the billiards competitions. What worries them most is Wattana's loss of form. Asia's top-ranked player is going through a prolonged slump which has seen his world ranking slip from 15 to 24. Wattana was beaten in the first round of this season's two opening professional events in the UK, October's British Grand Prix and the Liverpool Victoria UK Championships last month. Soon after returning to Bangkok, the 29-year-old Wattana retreated to a remote monastery in Luang Poh Kuan in an attempt to rediscover the calmness needed to make it through the tension-filled atmosphere of top-class snooker. 'I'm feeling very fresh after going to Luang Poh Kuan,' said Wattana. But he admits that the pressures of playing in front of his home-town fans could be unbearable. 'There is a lot of expectation riding on me. The most important thing in snooker is having the heart to play. At the moment, the rest of the field are not afraid of me for they think I have burned out,' added Wattana. Hong Kong ace Fu, meanwhile, is riding the crest of a successful outing at his first professional tournament, when he entered the final of the British Grand Prix. 'The conditions in Bangkok will be different,' said Fu. The 20-year-old star will first have to ward off a serious challenge in the form of Pakistan's world number 39, Ali, whom he is likely to meet in the semis. But Fu knows that all the pressure is on the shoulders of Wattana. That will help him spearhead Hong Kong's tilt for an early gold.