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Cue master Peter Gilchrist’s motivation is daughter Ysabel, 6

She loves it when he brings home medals, says six-time billiard champion

When he was younger, Singapore cue master Peter Gilchrist won for personal achievement and satisfaction.

Yesterday, after clinching his sixth straight SEA Games title in English billiards at the Manila Hotel, the 51-year-old revealed that he has an added motivation these days - his daughter Ysabel.

"I'm still excited to play, but I do it for different reasons now," Gilchrist told The New Paper in a phone interview, after defeating Myanmar's Nay Thway Oo 3-0 in the best-of-five, 100-up final.

"I play for my daughter now. I have a six-year-old at home and she loves it when I bring home medals.

"When I see her delighted with my medals, it keeps me going, the desire to win."

That hunger also fuelled Gilchrist's sixth World Billiards Championship title in October.

He may make winning look easy, but he was quick to add that nothing comes easy.

Said the Spex scholar: "I train harder than anybody else.

"People think I come in and play how I do just like that, but they don't put in the work like I do. I'm fortunate that Singapore supports me and allows me to train all the time.

"I train six to seven hours a day, and work a lot more on my in-off play. I work on all aspects of my game."

His effort has helped him reign supreme in the region since 2009, even though the SEA Games' shorter format poses a tougher challenge than the 1,000-up format at the World Championships.

Gilchrist admitted that before going to Manila, he did feel some pressure as the defending SEA Games champion and reigning world champion, especially with the omission of the doubles event this year.

He said: "Previously we had doubles, but here in Manila, it's do-or-die.

"I couldn't afford to lose, even with the shorter format and strong competitors. I had one event and one shot to win gold."

The billiards veteran's quest for perfection was hampered by Indonesia's Marlando Sihombing in the quarter-finals, and Thailand's Yuttapop Pakpoj in the semi-finals, as both games finished 3-1.

"I would say winning is a habit. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so it would have been great to have a flawless performance," said Gilchrist, who did not drop a single frame in his gold-medal run two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.

"I learn to keep going when I make errors, and not let it affect me. Sometimes being a perfectionist could be detrimental, so I keep it in check.

"The Thai lad played a fantastic game; he wasn't intimidated by me at all. He held his ground and caused me to drop a frame."

While Yuttapop made Gilchrist work, Myanmar's Nay, the Asian champion, was his toughest opponent.

"But after I won the first frame, I became more confident," said Gilchrist. "The first frame is the most important."

In spite of his accomplishments, Gilchrist is still hungry for more.

"I'm looking to defend my world title. I've retained my SEA Games golds, but never the World Championship," he said.

"I've still got a few years left in me, so I'll make the most of it while it lasts."

Ysabel will help make sure of that.

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