New cuesports training centre opens in Katong

SEA games gold medallist Aloysius Yapp competing in a nine-ball tournament at the new academy yesterday.
SEA games gold medallist Aloysius Yapp competing in a nine-ball tournament at the new academy yesterday.PHOTO: LIN ZHAOWEI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Building on the momentum from the triple gold-medal haul at the 2017 SEA Games, Cuesports Singapore opened its first centralised training ground yesterday.

Located on the first floor of Katong Shopping Centre, the Singapore Cuesports Academy will also host competitions, said president of Cuesports Singapore Christopher Chuah. It houses three snooker and seven pool tables. Players in the national and Under-21 youth teams get free access to the facilities.

SEA Games snooker doubles gold medallist Tey Choon Kiat, who used to shuttle between the Singapore Recreation Club and Safra Toa Payoh for training, said: "I like that we now have our own place to train so we don't have to travel as much any more."

"It can get quite noisy at Safra because it is a public area. It's much quieter here and we can concentrate better," added the 50-year-old, who won gold with Chan Keng Kwang in August. Singapore's two other golds came in the nine-ball pool doubles (Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han) and billiards singles (Peter Gilchrist).

The academy will also allow national players to conduct private coaching.

"Some people who are interested in cuesports do not have access to coaching as they are not members of a country club or school alumni," said Justin Lee, Cuesports Singapore's honorary treasurer. "With this place, we can develop this new private coaching framework and reach players who want to improve their game."

The facilities are also available for recreational use by the public. Table rates range from $8 to $10 in the day and $10 to $15 at night.

Unlike most snooker and pool halls with varying age restrictions, there is none here in a bid to attract more youths to pick up a cue stick. The academy also has plans to promote cuesports in primary and secondary schools.

"Some of our national players are quite old, we need new blood to take over or the sport will just die off," said Tey.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2018, with the headline 'New cuesports training centre opens in Katong'. Subscribe