Gilchrist, Shayna grab top honours
They say getting to the top is tough, but staying there is tougher.
That's why newly-crowned Sportsman of the Year Peter Gilchrist is eyeing success at this year's World Billiards Championship in Leeds in October.
The Middlesbrough-born 46-year-old won his third world title last year, after previous triumphs in 1994 and 2001.
Speaking after receiving his gong at the Singapore Sports Awards at Orchard Hotel last night, Gilchrist said: "I want to win the World Championship again, because I've never regained it before.
"When I won it in 1994, I got beaten the following year, (and when) I won in 2001 and got beaten the following year again, so I've never won it back-to-back.
"So that's my goal. I know it'll be very, very difficult to achieve, but that's what I want to do."
Gilchrist, who also won his third South-east Asia (SEA) Games gold medal in English billiards singles last December in Myanmar, is in confident mood these days and chuckles whenever someone calls him a "veteran".
His inclusion in the Sports Excellence (Spex) Scholarship programme is a reason for this new-found belief.
The scholarship was announced in March last year as part of the revised High Performance Sports System, and provides selected athletes with financial and educational support, career preparation and personal and life-skills development according to their competitive levels.
Gilchrist, who also coached the Singapore national cuesports team from 2006 to 2012, said: "My biggest thanks goes to this Spex Scholarship scheme.
"Without that, I'd still be national coach, I'd still be getting beaten in all the tournaments I go to because I wouldn't be prepared.
"But with this, I've got a good team behind me in Sport Singapore and I go to tournaments actually believing I can win them.
"So now it's payback time for all those other players who have beaten me over the years."
Last night, Gilchrist saw off the challenge of 18-year-old swimmer Joseph Schooling, who also had a sterling year.
The Florida-based butterfly specialist rewrote four individual national records and was part of three quartets that set new national marks.
His five gold medals and one silver also made him the most bemedalled swimmer at last year's SEA Games.
But Gilchrist's back-to-back victories at the Irish Open in February and the Scottish Open in March, which preceded a win over world No. 1 David Causier in the long-format final of October's International Billiards and Snooker Federation World Billiards Championship, gave him the edge.
Bowler Shayna Ng won the Sportswoman of the Year award, trumping table tennis' Feng Tianwei, a two-time winner.
Ng, 24, said she didn't expect to win since she finished runner-up to Feng last year, and was feeling especially down after losing the step-ladder final of the Singapore Open just hours before last night's awards.
When asked if she felt like the underdog again, she said: "Yeah, definitely.
"But last year Tianwei won a medal at the Olympics, so I couldn't fight her.
"This year, when I found out I was nominated against her again, everybody told me 'it's your turn'. But they said I'd win last year too.
"But it's anybody's game and it's up to the panel to decide... I'm just honoured and thankful."
ROLL OF HONOUR
- Sportsman of the Year
Peter Gilchrist (Cuesports)
- Sportswoman of the Year
Shayna Ng (Bowling)
- Sportsboy of the Year
Jaris Goh (Bowling)
- Sportsgirl of the Year
Janine Khoo (Equestrian)
- Coach of the Year
Balazs Babella (Canoeing)
- Team of the Year (Event)
Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew (Sailing, 420 Women’s Team — 420 World Championship)
- Team of the Year (Team Sport)
National Water Polo Men’s Team
- Sportsboy/ Sportsgirl Team of the Year (Event)
Optimist World Championship Team (Loh Jia Yi, Edward Tan, Koh Yi Kun, Bertha Han, Fathin Rasyiqin Mohd Firdaus)
- Best Sports Event of the Year (Local)
DBS Marina Regatta 2013
- Best Sports Event of the Year (International)
OCBC Cycle Singapore 2013
- Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year
Navy Man’s 1.67m Dream” by Low Lin Fhoong, Today
Young ones driven to work even harder
When Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean met some of the award nominees before last night's Singapore Sports Awards, he was given an insight into what makes a high-level athlete.
World billiards champion Peter Gilchrist, who went on to win the Sportsman of the Year award, told him that an athlete needs to clock in 10,000 hours of practice over four years to be great in his sport.
Taking in the advice were teenagers Alfian Juma'en and Jaris Goh, both Sportsboy of the Year nominees.
Bowler Goh, who went on to pick up the award, said: "I didn't know you had to clock so much time training, until today.
"It's really interesting to know and it's something I'll look up and read up more on when I get home."
The 19-year-old, who won three medals at the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships last year, added that winning the Sportsboy of the Year award was a motivation for him "to work even harder", especially with the South-east Asia (SEA) Games on home soil next year.
Silat exponent Alfian, who won a shock gold medal in the men's class F at last December's SEA Games, was in awe of the passion with which Gilchrist explained the coaching theory to DPM Teo.
"It seems like all he (Gilchrist) thinks about is sport, even when making small talk," said the 18-year-old Ngee Ann Polytechnic student with a grin.
"That's why he's a world champion."
Sportsgirl of the Year winner, equestrian athlete Janine Khoo, meanwhile, says her win was sweet considering the sacrifices she has had to make for her sport.
Janine, 16, follows in the footsteps of her father, former swimmer Khoo Teng Cheong, who was Sportsboy of the Year in 1978 and 1979.
She said: "Whatever free time I have, I spend it on training.
"In the two years I've been in the national team, I rarely have had free time so I don't really go out or hang out.
"The hard work has definitely paid off and I've gained a lot of encouragement and gratification from this win, but winning this award is not the end of the hard work.
"I'll definitely have to work harder to do well in international shows and also at the SEA Games next year." - Additional reporting by DAVID LEE