Twenty-four-year-old badminton player Loh Kean Yew made history as the first Singaporean to win at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships.
The world champion: Loh beat India’s Kidambi Srikanth after a 21-15, 22-20 victory in the men’s singles final in Huelva, Spain on Dec. 19, reported Olympics.
- Loh, who also became the first Singaporean medallist and the first Singaporean finalist at the BWF World Championships, stunned fans by beating six top 10 badminton world-ranking players, including No. 1 Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen, Japan’s Kento Momota and Denmark’s Anders Antonsen.
- Before the 43-minute game of his world championship title, Loh had previously injured his ankle in a game against India’s Prannoy H. S. and landed on a wheelchair after beating Antonsen in the semi-final.
- “I thought I was finished because it hurt like hell, and I couldn’t walk,” Loh told The Straits Times. “But I told myself to push through the pain and go all out in the final, and coped with ice and some treatment, and it paid off.”
- “This feels like a dream, and now it’s a dream come true. I grew up watching Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei playing such big finals and now I’m here as the world champion. It’s unbelievable,” Loh added. “I’m honored to deliver this first gold for Singapore. I know many Singaporeans have been staying up to follow my progress, and I want to thank everyone for their support and for being a huge motivation.”
- Singapore President Halimah Yacob took to Facebook to congratulate Loh. “Well done Kean Yew! Our very first Badminton World Champion! Your win is such a wonderful year-end gift to Singaporeans. It raised our spirits and reminds us that nothing is impossible if we put our hearts and minds to it,” she stated in her post which included two photographs of her encounter with the champion.
- According to Yahoo News, Loh had previously earned five SEA Games medals and received his professional title at the 2019 finals of Thailand Masters.