World champion Loh Kean Yew: Why I am not a one hit wonder

The Singaporean is looking to medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games ahead of his world championship title defence.

By Sanjeev Palar
Picture by EDDIE KEOGH

Loh Kean Yew reached one of the pinnacles of badminton when he clinched the World Championship title in December 2021.

He became the first Singaporean to win a title across all disciplines in the sport, and it elevated his status from underdog to man-to-beat on the World Tour circuit.

The 25-year-old has not managed to repeat this podium-topping feat since his triumph in Huelva, but his remarkable performances this season have certainly seen him live up to his billing as the reigning champion.

Ahead of his world title defence in Japan at the end of August, Loh hopes that the 2022 Commonwealth Games can give him just the boost he needs to potentially become the maiden Singaporean to clinch back-to-back world champion titles.

Loh Kean Yew in action at the Singapore Open 2022 
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Consistency will be key

Loh kicked off the season on a positive note when he made the final of his first World Tour event of the year, the India Open.

He sailed into the finals but his hopes of picking up a maiden title of the season was dashed by local hero, Lakshya Sen who dealt Loh his first defeat as the reigning world champion.

His All England campaign this season came to a quick end when he was knocked out in the opening round by Denmark's Anders Antonsen.

It would take a few more months before Loh could find a rhythm during a tournament and at the Indonesia Masters in June he defeated some formidable opponents before Chou Tien Chen ended his title hopes in the semi-finals.

The back-to-back events in Jakarta saw him make the quarter-finals of the Super 1000 Indonesia Open where Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia needed extra points in the third game to snatch the win.

Two weeks later, Loh suffered a first round exit at the Malaysia Open but bounced back on home soil to make the semi-finals of the Singapore Open.

The nation's wait for another local winner continues after Anthony Sinisuka Ginting produced some spectacular badminton to defeat the reigning champ en route to lifting the title.

Despite the defeat, Loh remains optimistic about his game and shared with Yahoo! News, "I played some good matches in this period, but I need to work on my consistency,"

"At the very least, I felt that I performed in every game I played, but sometimes the results didn't go my way." - Loh Kean Yew to Yahoo! News

A bright Birmingham outing

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

His campaign in Birmingham got off to a bright start when he helped Singapore clinch bronze in the mixed team event. In men's singles he opened his campaign by winning against South Africa's Robert Summers on Thursday (4 August).

With the Lee Zii Jia opting not to compete, this proves a golden opportunity for Loh to not only clinch singles' gold, but also get the confidence boost that he needs before heading to Tokyo for his title defence that commences on 22 August.

Loh shared with The Straits Times that he has been struggling with form and consistency and is hoping to turn things around.

"I'm working on my consistency and I'm still in the midst of finding it. It hasn't been easy, and it's not going to appear magically after I win the World Championship, but I'm working on it." - Loh Kean Yew to The Straits Times

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