Singapore may be a small nation, but sporting success is always something we’ve aspired towards. Although winning is important, we cheer our athletes on, whether they win or lose.
This time, Singaporean badminton player Loh Kean Yew achieved a personal milestone, defeating Malaysian Lee Zii Jia in the men’s singles final at the Hylo Open in Germany.
24-year-old Loh won S$32,400 and 9,200 ranking points, according to The Straits Times (ST).
Meanwhile, his compatriot Yeo Jia Min finished second in the women’s singles final.
The finals between Loh and Lee stopped midway through the 3rd game when Lee had to retire due to a back injury, giving Loh the win.
It was an intense series, with Loh dropping behind in the 1st game only to rally back and grow in momentum thereafter.
The series ended at 19-21, 21-13, and 17-12. It marks the second time Loh has overcome Lee in a tournament in 2 weeks, having also beat him at the French Open earlier.
Before this series of European tournaments, Loh was ranked #35 in the world.
But he’d spent a month training with players like Olympic gold medallist Dane Viktor Axelsen in Dubai last Sep, and the training looks to be paying off.
On his way to the title, Loh defeated #4 Taiwanese player Chou Tien-chen.
Additionally, Loh and Lee are childhood rivals — Loh was born and raised in Penang, while Lee hailed from Kedah.
They often met in Malaysian competitions before Loh came to Singapore when he was 13.
And in 2 weeks, Loh has defeated Lee – who’s arguably Malaysia’s best male singles player since Lee Chong Wei – twice.
Meanwhile, earlier in the women’s singles final, Yeo placed 2nd after losing to Busanan Ongbamrungphan, who’s ranked #14 worldwide.
The series ended 21-10, 21-14 as Ongbamrungphan proved superior on the day.
However, Yeo was #26 and may place in the top 20 following the tournament placing.
She also leaves with US$12,160 (S$16,400) and 7,800 ranking points.
The wins will definitely be a boost to Loh’s confidence — reaching a milestone one hasn’t before will definitely do that.
But the journey’s far from over, and it’s only beginning.
Congratulations to both Loh and Yeo, and here’s hoping that more success will follow for Singapore’s shuttlers.
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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Facebook.
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