SINGAPORE - On a rollercoaster World Games debut, Singapore's top pool player Aloysius Yapp overcame his recent voodoo against the Philippines' Carlo Biado to pick up a historic men's 9-ball pool bronze medal on Saturday (July 16).
The 26-year-old said: "It feels good as I wasn't expecting anything coming into this event. I had just switched to a new cue last week, and was working on some stroke fundamentals, so it is definitely nice to get one over Carlo and win a medal here."
The World Games are an international multi-sport event comprising sports and disciplines that are not contested at the Olympics. This July 7-17 edition, which features 30 sports and 3,600 athletes from 110 nations and territories, is held in Birmingham, Alabama, United States.
World No. 7 Yapp first cruised past New Zealand's 169th-ranked Matt Edwards 11-3 in the round of 16 on Thursday before overcoming Spain's world No. 5 Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz 11-7 in Friday's quarter-finals.
Sanchez-Ruiz is one of the game's most in-form players, having teamed up with David Alcaide to beat Yapp and Toh Lian Han in the World Cup of Pool final in June.
However, luck was not on Yapp's side in Saturday's semi-final when he lost 11-7 in his first meeting with Bosnia and Herzegovina's 22nd-ranked Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who was later beaten 11-8 by Germany's Joshua Filler in the final.
He said: "Sanchez-Ruiz and I played really well in our quarter-final, and I felt I was playing even better in the semi-final. Sanjin and I were tied at 7-7, and he was lucky to win most of those racks he had up to that point with a lot of fluke pots.
"After that I played two bad safety shots and had one dry break on the alternate breaks, and lost."
Still, with less than an hour to cope with the disappointment, Yapp rebounded in style to beat defending champion Biado 11-8. The Filipino had beaten him in the 2021 US Open final and this year's SEA Games men's 9-ball semi-final.
"I was still frustrated, but I just tried to focus and accept that luck is part of the game and there's no use dwelling in the past," said Yapp.
Singapore has previous won gold medals through women's singles bowler Adelene Wee in 1985 and men's middleweight bodybuilder Azman Abdullah in 1993, when Jojo Sinclair also won a silver in the women's lightweight category.
Cuesports Singapore president Justin Lee was proud of Yapp's achievement. He said: "Cuesports are not included in the Olympics, so the World Games represent a similar top-level international competition which our athletes can aspire to compete in and bring glory to our nation.
"We hope this is the first of many medals for Singapore cuesports at the World Games."
Elsewhere at the Games, Singapore's wushu exponents also picked up one silver and one bronze medals.
On Tuesday, Jowen Lim won silver in the men's taolu daoshu and gunshu behind China's Wu Zhaohua, while Frenchman Loan Drouard took bronze. Later, Vera Tan claimed bronze in the women's taolu taijiquan and taijijian behind Brunei's champion Lachkar Basma and Taiwanese silver medallist Liu Pei-hsun.