Cuesports: Gilchrist top of the world again

S'pore billiards star, 48, claims his fifth world title and reveals he is in the form of his life

He may have just added another feather to his cap by clinching his fifth world-level title at the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Bengaluru, India, but Singapore's Peter Gilchrist remains hungry for more.

The 48-year-old, who beat India's national champion Sourav Kothari 1,500-617 in the long format final on Thursday, adding another title to his previous triumphs in 1994, 2001, 2013 and 2015.

And he told The Straits Times he hopes to enjoy another 10 to 15 years in the game.

"I'm playing as good as I've ever played and I'm really enjoying the game and my training," he said.

"The last thing I want to do is keep playing when I'm not able to win - that would destroy me mentally. I'll know when that day comes, and I'll just retire, but hopefully I'll get a good 10 to 15 years before that."


World champion Peter Gilchrist competing in the English billiards singles final at the 2013 SEA Games. The five-time SEA Games champion is eyeing the singles and doubles golds at next year’s Kuala Lumpur Games. ST FILE PHOTO

He admitted, however, that reaching the final of the world championships had been tough.

He said: "There were a lot of good players in the tournament, so it wasn't easy. The long format is what I'm better at and I got off to a good start, so it was fortunate."

Under long-format rules, players win when they reach 400 points for the group stages, 1,000 for quarter-finals, 1,250 for the semi-finals and 1,500 in the final. In the short-format competition, players win a tie once they hit 100 points.

Shortly before the final, Gilchrist edged out former world champion Rupesh Shah 1,250-958 in a gruelling semi-final tie that lasted 51/2 hours.

Speaking to International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) media after he won the final, he said: "I played quite good during the last 500 points (of the semi-final) and that put me into a little bit better form, and against Sourav I just kept on from my semi-final performance.

"I knew I'd be playing okay because I had five hours against Rupesh, so I knew I was going to be cueing okay."

Gilchrist also credited the Sports Excellence (Spex) scholarship, which he received in 2013, as a key reason for his good form. The scholarship offers financial support to selected national athletes, allowing them to train full-time.

"The guys at the Singapore Sports Institute have looked after everything for me and all I have to do is concentrate on competing, that's why I'm doing so well," he said.

"It's also good that I've got the Singapore Cricket Club where I train. The guys there let me go on the table all the time and it's a good environment for me to play."

The England-born Gilchrist, who became a Singapore citizen in 2006, added that he hopes billiards can makes a return to the Asian Games, where he has yet to clinch a gold medal for the Republic.

CUEING UP FOR THE LONG RUN

The last thing I want to do is keep playing when I'm not able to win... I'll know when that day comes, and I'll just retire, but hopefully I'll get a good 10 to 15 years before that.

PETER GILCHRIST , Singapore's five-time billiards world champion, on his desire to play at a high level for years to come.

Billiards last featured at the quadrennial event at the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, where Gilchrist won his second bronze medal.

He also has five SEA Games golds between 2009 and 2015.

In addition to defending his SEA Games singles gold, Gilchrist is also gunning for the doubles crown at next year's Games in Malaysia.

"My partner Glenn Yeo is playing well at the moment, so I'm looking forward to that," he said.

"Winning in singles is nice, but it'd be nice to win in the doubles as well because I've never done that."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Gilchrist top of the world again'. Print Edition | Subscribe