Aloysius keen to end S'pore's golden drought at SEA Games
Last November, Aloysius Yapp became the Republic's first pool world champion when he won the 9-ball World Junior Pool Championships (Under-19) in Shanghai, China.
But not many people knew that he achieved the feat without the guidance of a coach.
That is why the 18-year-old Singaporean is looking forward to 2015, when he will work for three months with renowned pool coach Ralph Eckert.
The 49-year-old German, a trick shot world champion in 2004, was roped in by Cuesports Singapore to help the national men's team in their preparations for the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in June, which will be hosted by Singapore.
His three-month stint started on Thursday.
"I didn't have a coach (in the national team) last year, so it was quite difficult for me to train and perform," Aloysius, who also won titles such as the Asian Junior Pool Championship and the National Under-19 10-Ball Open last year, told The New Paper in an interview.
"I had to learn everything by myself and work on my weaknesses on my own, and it wasn't easy," added the Coleman College student, who turned to Paul Pang, his personal coach and mentor of nine years, for guidance during that period.
"But we have a new coach now, and there will be new training programmes in place. It will definitely help me get even better."
Eckert, who was appointed together with women's team coach and former four-time world champion Allison Fisher, has big hopes for Yapp.
"He (Yapp) beat some very good young Germans last month and I know how good they are, so I'm looking forward to working with him," the former head coach of Denmark, Switzerland, Thailand and Morocco told the Straits Times in a recent interview.
Aloysius' main goal this year is to end Singapore's 10-year wait for a SEA Games gold medal in pool, when he competes in both the nine-ball individual and doubles events.
But it doesn't stop there.
The talented teenager, who is nicknamed "South-east Asia's Wu Chia-ching" in reference to the former Taiwanese child prodigy who became a double world champion at the age of 15, wants to sweep everything before him.
"The SEA Games is my main goal for now, that's what I'm working hard towards," Aloysius said.
"I'm looking forward to new challenges in the new year, and I'm happy that there are tournaments in place to keep us going.
"I'm aiming for a SEA Games gold medal, no doubt. It would be great to win on such a big stage.
"I want to win everything, from the SEA Games to the Asian Games to the World Men's Championships. I want to win all there is to win."
HOW I RATE MY 2014:
Name: Aloysius Yapp
School: Coleman College
Notable achievements (2014):
- Asian Junior Pool Championship (champion)
National U-19 10-Ball Open (champion)
National 10-Ball Open (champion)
National U-19 9-Ball Open (champion)
9-Ball U-19 World Junior Championships (champion)
"I want to win everything, from the SEA Games to the Asian Games to the World Men’s Championships. I want to win all there is to win."
— World Junior Pool champion Aloysius Yapp