SINGAPORE - When five-time billiards world champion Peter Gilchrist delivered the SEA Games singles gold yesterday, sweeping aside Myanmar's Chi Ko Ko 3-0 in the men's final, he capped an unprecedented hat-trick in the sport for Singapore.
It was the third cue sports gold so far for the Republic, having never secured more than two at the biennial Games. It was Gilchrist's fifth consecutive gold in the event, and it completed triumphs in all three disciplines - billiards, pool and snooker - at these Games.
"It's the best cue sports has ever done and we've still got two more events to go (snooker and pool singles)," said Gilchrist. "The guys took a bit of the pressure off me by winning earlier and that helped me just be really steady today."
The Republic's two other golds came from Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han in the nine-ball pool doubles on Thursday, and Chan Keng Kwang and Tey Choon Kiat in the snooker doubles on Wednesday.
Yapp and Toh's win was Singapore's first gold medal in pool since 2005, when Chan won the men's singles gold in Manila.
Singapore won two golds at the 2009 and 2015 Games.
Gilchrist grabbed gold at the second time of asking at the Games, after taking bronze with Glenn Yeo in the billiards doubles on Tuesday.
Said the 2014 Sportsman of the Year: "I was really disappointed about that and also feel for Glenn because he and I trained very hard. He deserves more."
England-born Gilchrist, who became a Singapore citizen in 2006, channelled that disappointment into the billiards singles, as he took the gold without dropping a frame, calling his performance on the day "easy".
The 49-year-old Middlesbrough native has no intention of giving up his crown come the next Games in 2019, when he will look to extend his winning streak to six.
"I want to beat that men's water polo gold record (of 27 straight golds since 1965), that's the goal," he said jokingly.
"I love the SEA Games, I can't wait for it to come every two years. It's great being able to win for your country."
Cuesports Singapore president Christopher Chuah was overjoyed by his athletes' performances, particularly the diversified nature of the victories.
"The players put in many hours of hard work and did very well to retain their composure at an away Games," he said.
"This performance augurs well for Singapore cue sports and will serve as the new benchmark going forward.
"Hopefully it will also get us due recognition in the form of more funding and support from (national sports agency) Sport Singapore."