SINGAPORE - Winning never gets old for cue master Peter Gilchrist.
The 51-year-old Singaporean lived up to his top billing as world champion and world No. 1 to retain his SEA Games English billiards men's singles crown on Monday (Dec 9).
At the Manila Hotel, he beat familiar foe Nay Thway Oo 3-0 in the best-of-five, 100-up final for his sixth straight gold since Laos 2009. He also beat the Myanmar player in the 2013 final and 2017 semi-final.
After becoming Singapore's oldest male gold medallist at these Games, he exclaimed to The Straits Times: "I have still got a few good years left in me yet!"
Unlike his flawless run in 2017, when he did not drop a frame, the Middlesbrough native did meet some resistance in his 3-1 wins over Indonesia's Marlando Sihombing and Thailand's Yuttapop Pakpoj in his quarter-final and semi-final.
And when he made a 100-break to take the opener 100-61, the final appeared to be a mere procession.
But nerves started to kick in and he said: "There was a lot of pressure on me to win and, in this short format, any mistake can be fatal.
"We have a lot of respect for each other, so perhaps we both got a bit nervous with the gold at stake."
Even though Nay had his chances and managed to score in each of the three frames, he failed to capitalise and was duly punished in the next two frames - 101-43 and 100-51.
Said Gilchrist: "The experience of having won this event is something you can't buy and it sure does help in moments like this."
The gold caps his terrific year. In October, he claimed his sixth world title to add to long-up triumphs in 1994, 2001, 2013 and 2016, as well as a 2015 win in the 150-up format.
A "nice Christmas celebration" with his partner Dorothy and six-year-old daughter Ysabel awaits before he plots his world championship defence and starts his season with the Scottish Open on Jan 25.
He said: "I'm 51, and this has been the best year I have had, so that counts for something.
"Obviously, I would like to retain my world championship. It will be tough but I will be up for it and, hopefully, I'll get back to winning ways in the new year."
In the women's 9-ball pool doubles, Suvene Ng and Jessica Tan lost to Indonesia's Fathrah Masum and Nony Andilah 7-3 to claim the joint bronze medal.