James Wattana (born January 17, 1970), original name Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm, is a professional snooker player from Thailand.
Wattana was a young prodigy, winning his first major tournament, the Camus Thailand Masters, in 1986, aged only 16. Turning professional in 1989, after he won the 1988 World Amateur Championship, his career peaked in the mid-1990s, when he twice won the Thailand Open and rose to number three in the world rankings. Prior to Wattana becoming a professional snooker had been dominated by British, Irish and to a lesser extent Canadian and Australian players.
Career highlights including being the eighth professional player to earn more than £1m in prize money, and is one of only four to have scored more than two 147 breaks in competition - the others to achieve this have all been world champions. He scored his first in 1991.
After a strong 2004/2005 season he returned to the top 32 of the world rankings, despite being the first player since 1991 to lose a World Championship match 10-0 – he did this in the final qualifying round against Allister Carter.
Wattana's success caught the imagination of the Thai public, and he became the most popular sportsman in his home country. He helped raise the profile of the game in the Far East, and has been followed into the game by many players from Thailand, Hong Kong and China, the most successful being Marco Fu and Ding Junhui. He is a Commander third class of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, only the second sportsman to get the country's most prestigious civilian honour.
He reached the Semi Finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1993 and 1997.
His mother was jailed for life in 2004 for murdering her cousin.