Commonwealth Games 2022: Loh Kean Yew wins opening badminton singles match in Birmingham to raise Singapore medal hopes

The reigning world champion has already won bronze at the Commonwealth Games and is looking to clinch a maiden men's singles title for Singapore.

By James Pratt and Andrew Binner
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Loh Kean Yew made light work of his opening match in the men's singles badminton competition at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Singaporean beat South Africa's Robert Summers in straight games, 21-16, 21-9 in the round of 32 on Thursday (4 August).

Loh is hoping to clinch his maiden title at a multi-sport event, and is the first reigning men's singles world champion to compete in a Commonwealth Games competition.

It has been a mixed event for Loh so far, who went down 18-21, 15-21 to Lakshya Sen during his nation's 3-0 defeat to India in the mixed team semi-finals on Monday.

Next up, Loh helped his nation win bronze on Tuesday with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over England's Toby Penty.

The 2021 world champ also competed in the 2018 edition of the Games at Gold Coast, where was beaten in the quarter-final by eventual winner Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.

READ MORE: How learning from an Olympic champion helped Loh Kean Yew to world domination

On course to clash with the best in Birmingham

As top seed for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Loh enjoyed a bye in the opening round having beaten Robert Summers from South Africa he'll now face Alexandre Jean Bernard Bongout of Mauritius in the last 16 on Friday.

His first real challenge of the tournament could come in the form of Malaysia's Ng Tze Yong in the quarter-finals. Should he clear the fifth seed, we could be in for a rematch of the last World Championship final against Kidambi Srikanth. The Indian, who won silver at the 2018 edition of the Games, will be bouyed by their recent Thomas Cup victory and will not be an easy opponent to get past.

But if the Singaporean prevails, then likely awaiting him in the final is the tournament second seed and rising star, Lakshya Sen. World No.10 Sen is more than capable of outshining Loh as he proved during the finals of this year's India Open, and in the mixed team semi-finals here in Birmingham.

Despite the likes of Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia not taking part in the tournament, the competition remains tight at the top and it's just too close to call as to who will have the upper hand in Birmingham.

READ MORE: Loh Kean Yew becomes Singapore’s first badminton world champion

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games : How to watch

Singapore sports fans will be able to catch Loh Kean Yew in action at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on multiple platforms offered by local broadcaster, Mediacorp.

Viewers can enjoy free coverage of the event on digital entertainment service meWATCH, Mediacorp's free-to-air Channel 5 and YouTube.

Coverage in the host country is available on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), with events live on BBC1 and BBC2 Television channels, with all events streaming on the iPlayer and BBC website.

And if you are unable to find a screen to watch the matches, look out for Olympics.com's daily live blog from Birmingham.

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