Billiards: No resting on laurels for Gilchrist

Billiards: No resting on laurels for Gilchrist

For the past seven years, he has had to juggle the responsibilies of both player and national coach.

But come January, Peter Gilchrist will turn his full attention to the latest challenge in his 25-year billiards career - reclaiming the world No. 1 spot in his sport.

And he will have no lack of support either, as he was one of the 66 inaugural Sports Excellence Scholarship recipients announced in September.

Under the scheme, the current world No. 2 will earn an annual stipend of between $24,000 and $90,000, with additional funding for coaching and competitions.

"The scholarship has given me a boost," The Straits Times Star of the Month for October said.

"When I was coaching, I missed a few tournaments and my ranking slipped. But now that I can play in them all, I should be able to get back to the top."

His confidence stems from the fact that he beat the incumbent world No.1, Briton David Causier, in the final of last month's World Billiards Championship.

It was the Middlesbrough native's third world title - adding to the crowns he won in 1994 and 2001.

But as he prepares for his next test - the defence of his SEA Games billiards singles gold medal - the 45-year-old knows that his reputation will count for little in Myanmar.

And it all comes down to the tournament format.

"People think the world champion will probably win the gold, but the format is completely different," said Gilchrist, whose world championship success came in the long format.

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