Singapore

From school dropout to world No 2, Singaporean pool player Aloysius Yapp reflects on his journey


Yapp repeatedly tried to persuade his mom of his need to go away school completely.

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“She said no. It took some time for her to really, fully trust me. We sat down one day and we talked about it … I said I really wanted to do it. I felt like I could,” he recalled.

“I told her that I wouldn’t go astray. I promised that I would train the whole day. I guess she really felt it also – that’s when she decided, okay, give him a shot.”

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So Yapp’s life took a distinct path.

“The moment I dropped out, I was so committed to the game … Everything was just pool. I never thought about anything else,” he stated.

“My coach (Pang) was … not happy about my choice, but he supported me all the way. I guess he also felt that I was crazy about the game.”

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Yapp spent hours at residence coaching, watching YouTube movies of previous matches after which skilled on the Chinese Swimming Club later within the day.

But there have been those that doubted Yapp and his determination.

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“They would inform me: ‘You’re so younger, that’s actually naive, you shouldn’t do it.’ But I used to be so fastened on doing it that there was no different choice. I’d have a look at them and I’d inform them that I may do it.

“I really didn’t care.”

Yapp went on to full his O-Levels at personal establishment Coleman College. 

DEALING WITH PRESSURE

The 12 months after he dropped out of school, Yapp competed in his first regional and world stage tournaments. He was 15.

“I was excited to get to play and watch all those (players) that I used to watch on TV … I was starstruck and I was playing at the same table as them. Just a crazy feeling.”

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Yapp continued to study from Pang and picked up more tips and suggestions from these he performed towards on the Chinese Swimming Club.

A couple of years later in 2014, the 18-year-old took residence the Asian Junior title after which turned the junior world champion when he received the nine-ball pool singles class on the Under-19 World Junior Championships in Shanghai.

In doing so, Yapp turned the primary Singaporean to win a world title within the sport.

“I was happy that I was able to win everything as a junior but it was time to move on (to the senior level).”

But issues weren’t all the time easy crusing after.

There was the frustration of the 2015 SEA Games, the place he was eradicated within the nine-ball pool singles quarter-finals on residence soil.

“There was a lot of pressure, a lot of struggles … It was painful but it made me even stronger. I learnt to deal with the pressure and struggles.”

There was 2016, a barren 12 months the place he was eradicated early at many of the tournaments he competed in.

“After the SEA Games where I lost, I worked on a lot of things and just somehow everything clicked,” recalled Yapp.

“In 2016, I kept thinking that I could do it, but at that time, looking back, I wasn’t good enough. I had a couple of good runs, but I wasn’t consistent. So in 2016, I suffered a lot mentally because I kept losing and I started to become scared of the ball, scared of the game.”

After consulting his coach, Yapp made modifications to the way in which that he practised, and turned a nook. He went on to win the boys’s nine-ball doubles gold medal on the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

After serving his two years of National Service, Yapp had to take an prolonged break from February 2020 to June this 12 months from competing overseas due to the pandemic. However, he stated that it has proved to be a blessing in disguise.

“I felt it was even better because I had time to reflect and work on certain parts of the game, like (the) mental part,” he stated.

“I worked on my fundamentals. I had so much time to work on things that I was struggling at. When I was competing, I couldn’t overhaul my whole game.”

AN UPWARD TRAJECTORY

And 2021 has been a groundbreaking 12 months for Yapp.

In September, he completed third on the World 10-Ball Championship in Las Vegas, after which took second on the US Open 9-Ball Championship in Atlantic City later that month.

Continuing his streak, Yapp received the Michigan 10-Ball Open for his first senior worldwide title. His final senior stage title was the 2017 Golden Break 9 Ball Open Championship in Malaysia.

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised that I did so well. Recently I have been playing better … I was more focused on playing how I have been practising, doing what I have been working on … I guess it was my hard work that sort of paid off.”


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