SINGAPORE – Pool player Aloysius Yapp has become the first Singaporean to reach world No. 1 in the sport, just over two weeks after hitting a career-high of second on Oct 6.
But so focused was the 25-year-old on the on-going International 9-ball Open and 10-ball invitational in Virginia, United States that he had no clue of his ascension to the top of the world rankings.
Yapp only found out about his feat when contacted by The Straits Times early Monday morning (Oct 25), prompting him to check the World Pool-Billiard Association rankings.
“Omg (oh my god),” said Yapp via a brief text message. “I didn’t know at all. I’m still in shock. I just hope I can stay there.”
Yapp has certainly come a long way since picking up a cue when he was eight and dropping out of secondary school at 14 to train full-time and work towards becoming a professional pool player.
He eventually completed his O levels at private institution Coleman College and his flair for the sport was evident by then.
At 18, he won the 2014 World Junior 9-Ball Championships, three months after claiming the Asian Junior title, which set him up to turn pro.
He won a SEA Games 9-ball doubles gold with Toh Lian Han in 2017 before enlisting for national service, which combined with the coronavirus pandemic resulted in limited opportunities for him to train, travel and compete.
However, two months of high-level overseas training and competition this year propelled Yapp from world No. 20 when he first arrived in the States on Aug 19 to the summit, as he overtook American Shane van Boening in the latest rankings.
In September, he finished third at the World 10-ball Championship in Las Vegas, and then second at the US Open 9-ball Championship in Atlantic City. Along the way, he beat the world’s top three players, who were then three-time national 8-ball champion Van Boening, German Joshua Filler and Scotsman Jayson Shaw respectively.
On Sept 25, Yapp won the Michigan Open for his first senior international-level title after his 2017 Golden Break 9 Ball Open Championship triumph in Malaysia.
While he finished 17th at the Ohio Open in October, it was enough for him to rise to the top as the rankings take into account results and corresponding points from the 10 most recent selected events.
Cuesports Singapore congratulated Yapp for his achievement in a Facebook post, saying: “We are proud of him. He is reaping the rewards for years of dedication and hard work.”
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