Singapore—Newly-minted World Badminton champion Loh Kean Yew trains in Dubai to prepare for the new season beginning with the India Open on Tuesday (Jan 11).
After his incredible giant-killing efforts in Huelva, Spain, ended in victory on Dec 19 he spent only 11 days at home before his training began anew.
“I am really grateful to everyone who came forward with your support and encouragement. Your gestures and generosity means a lot to me.”
In his message, he does try to dampen the nation’s heightened expectations by adding: “It is challenging to maintain consistency at this level.” Still, he underlines that the support he’s received has made all the difference.
“Knowing that I have the support back home gives me extra motivation to remain focused and to put in my best efforts,” he added.
“Once again, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”
On social media, fans and friends offered warm words of encouragement to Loh. Among them was fellow badminton player Ygor Coelho de Oliveira of Brazil who was Pan Am champion 2017/2018, South American Games champion in 2018 and Pan Am games champion in 2019. He is currently ranked 32nd in the world.
According to the World Tour website, Loh faces off against Canada’s Xiaodong Sheng in the first round. The site lists the Singaporean champ as ranked 10th in the world, while Xiaodong is ranked at number 54.
Recently, on learning that the season-ending world badminton tournament that Loh won did not come with any prize money or, even more surprisingly, a financial award from the state, fans started raising money to reward Loh.
Wei Chan, an avid badminton player since he was 10, and a member of the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) management committee, created the Loh Kean Yew Encouragement Fund, and put up a crowdfunding effort on the Ray of Hope platform on Jan 2, 2022.
So far, S$152,859 has been raised from 647 contributors. .
“Having gone through rigorous training of sorts, I know the amount of sheer hardwork, perseverance, tenacity and grit that is required for Loh Kean Yew to achieve what he did, love for the game aside,” wrote Mr Wei.
“I felt compelled to do something to thank him for what he has achieved for himself and Singapore, and further encourage him towards his badminton hope and dreams.”
A Jan 5 report in The Straits Times says that Loh could be in for a “windfall of about $1 million in sponsorship and contributions” after winning the world championship.
ST added it understands that “a multimillion, six-figure deal” between SBA and Loh is in the works. /TISG
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