SEA GAMES 2019: Gilchrist makes it six in-a-row
10 December 2019
He’s a six-time World Champion and yet Peter Gilchrist says nothing is more nerve-wracking that defending the English Billiards gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games. This is an event he has made his own since 2009.
Peter Gilchrist in action during the final (Photo credit: SportSG)
At the Manila Hotel on Monday (9 Dec), the 51-year-old came up against Myanmar’s Nay Thway Oo and won 3-0. This was the same opponent he has met and vanquished in the 2013 and 2017 finals.
Being the top seed, Gilchrist was given direct passage into the quarter-finals where he beat Indonesia’s Marlando Sihombing 3-1, and in the semi-final, he again dropped a frame in beating Thailand’s Yuttapop Pakpoj 3-1.
And that is the nature of the SEA Games English Billiards format first to 100, best of five, that unlike the longer form of the game at the World Championships, meant Gilchrist would have to be near flawless to stay on top, with little margin for error.
Gold in the bag, mission accomplished (Photo credit: SportSG)
“I’ve been to so many world championships but I always feel so much pressure at the SEA Games,” said Gilchrist.
“You can’t afford too many mistakes here or your opponent would run away with the match. Against the Thai, for example, he came to the table and had a hundred break, and suddenly he was ahead of me.
“The same in the final when I broke off but my Myanmar opponent came to the table and made 61 before making a mistake. I made the most of my turn and compiled 100 to take the lead. He had similar chances in the next two frames as well.”
Middlesbrough-born Gilchrist has been a Singapore citizen since 2006, and he says he never tires of hearing Majulah Singapura ring out whenever he wins.
“The gold medal means a lot to me and I know how important it is to the nation as well, so I’m always out to do my best,” said Gilchrist, whose biggest fan is his six-year-old daughter at home.
“Isabel likes me coming back with the trophies and the medals, and she likes to show off to her friends that her Daddy’s the best. So I have to live up to that mantle, and I’m sure she’d love snuggling up to this mascot soft toy.”
As for whether he would make a run for 27 consecutive gold medals as the water-polo team has achieved, Gilchrist replied with a laugh: “I’m 51 now, so you do the maths how old I’d be for that to happen.
Flowers for the wife, soft toy for daughter and the gold medal for Singapore (Photo credit: SportSG)
“I’d be happy with seven or eight (gold medals) in-a-row, to be honest. I’m really glad all those hours I spend at the table practising has paid off.
“My game is in really good shape and I’m glad to have kept up my form since winning the World Championships in October, so let’s hope this continues.”
Singapore is also in the running for medals in the men’s 9-ball pool event where both Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han toppled Filipino opponents to reach the semi-finals.
Yapp defeated Dennis Orcollo while Toh took down Warren Kiamco, both by identical 9-4 scorelines.