Gilchrist takes gold, but targets three more
One down, three to go for Singapore ace
Halfway through the South-east Asia (SEA) Games men's English billiards singles (500 points) final yesterday, he started to wear a look of despair.
Singapore's Peter Gilchrist shook his head several times and mumbled to himself, powerless in his seat as his Vietnamese rival Nguyen Thank Binh began amassing what seemed like an unassailable lead at the OCBC Arena.
But one error from Nguyen was all it took to swing the game Gilchrist's way.
More than 50 points ahead, Nguyen committed a foul and Gilchrist pounced immediately, as one would expect from a world champion and three-time SEA Games gold medallist.
On his 26th visit to the table, Gilchrist broke away with 184 points, effectively ending the contest 501-291, as Nguyen, chirpy and confident before that, sunk into his seat.
"One down, three to go," said Gilchrist, who will also compete in the men's English billiards singles, doubles and team events after this.
"This was by no means the hardest match I've had to win, but it sure was a stretch.
"I didn't have the best of starts, but I played rather well towards the end.
"I set out to win golds in all the four events I'm competing in, so it's good to get off to a great start."
Gilchrist fared much better than his teammates on the first medal day for cuesports at the Games.
Toh Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp fell to the Philippines in the semi-finals of the men's nine-ball pool doubles, while Jessica Tan bombed out of the women's nine-ball pool singles at the quarter-final stage, after a 7-3 loss to the Philippines' Chezka Centeno.
Gilchrist, who won gold in three successive SEA Games between 2009 and 2013, will be heading into the next three days of action full of confidence.
"I played only at 65 per cent today," he said.
"I wasn't at my best at all, that's for sure... I have to say that there is some sort of satisfaction to be derived from winning when you're far from your best. It shows your true ability.
"And I know for a fact that when I'm in top form, my game is pretty much one of the best in the world."