‘It definitely means a lot to me’: World badminton champion Loh Kean Yew targets elusive SEA Games gold

SINGAPORE: Since he was topped badminton world champion final December, life has turned on its head for 24-year-old Loh Kean Yew.

Off the courtroom, he’s now a recognised man. 

Be it on the road, within the practice or on the meals courtroom close to the place he trains as employees there cease to ask how he has been.

On the courtroom, he’s a marked man.

His strikes are studied, his strokes analysed, his sport scrutinised below a microscope. 

Many issues have modified since his historic win, however Loh’s want to shine on the SEA Games stays. 

This 12 months’s Games shall be Loh’s third, and it’s a competitors he holds notably shut to his coronary heart.

“SEA Games is one of the Games where you can represent Singapore with the rest of the contingent. It’ll feel different,” the world No 10 informed CNA over the cellphone from Bangkok the place he and the nationwide males’s group had been competing within the Thomas Cup.

At the 2015 Games, Loh clinched bronze within the males’s singles, his first medal on the regional meet.

“Previously, I saw that I could play well with senior and high-ranked players. But the SEA Games was the first major Games that I proved myself.”

And it was then that he determined to stop college to deal with badminton full-time.

“It was like evidence (that gave me) confidence (to make that decision). It was a good sign for me,” Loh defined.

While he missed out on a medal in 2017, Loh would safe a silver two years later, dropping to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia within the closing. 

“I’ve gotten bronze and silver in the individual event, but have never gotten gold before. Naturally, that is my goal, my target,” he mentioned. “It’s been a long time since we last won a men’s singles gold … It definitely means a lot to me.”

The final time Singapore gained the boys’s singles on the SEA Games was in 1983 on house soil, courtesy of Wong Shoon Keat. 

‘I DEFINITELY NEED TO IMPROVE’

It has been an especially packed 2022 for Loh, having competed in six tournaments in as many months.

His most up-to-date got here within the Thomas Cup – the place the Singapore males’s group put up fell to three defeats – 1-4 to defending champions Indonesia, 2-3 to South Korea and 2-3 to Thailand.

However, Loh notched victories in every of his singles’ matches, most notably beating Indonesia’s world No 5 Anthony Ginting.

In the 4 particular person tournaments he has competed this 12 months, Loh has made one closing, the place he misplaced to India’s Lakshya Sen within the India Open.

At his first All-England match, he would stretch world No 3 Anders Antonsen, however he ultimately misplaced 15-21, 21-18, 13-21 in an opening-round match that lasted 74 minutes.

“At the end of last year, my performance shot up very fast. I think it is quite common that there is a drop because now everybody is analysing my game,” he informed CNA. “I can’t peak all the time .. . so definitely there will be losses along the way.”

Consistency, the Singaporean identified, is an space he wants to work on. 

“At the time (of the World Championships), I was more consistent, but my consistency has dropped. So it is about how to manage it throughout,” he mentioned. “I do stress over the small things because I want to be as consistent as possible … (Every day) I want to try to become better than I was yesterday.”

After his World Championships triumph, Loh can be studying to cope with expectations, each from others and from himself.

“It’s not possible to not feel any pressure. I’m trying to face it head-on, acknowledge that I am the world champion and also accept the pressure and focus on the progress,” he mentioned.

At the identical time, the Singaporean recognises that the highway to bettering is a step-by-step course of, and he’s retaining himself grounded. “That’s how the nature of progress is,” he added.

While the fixed travelling has admittedly taken a toll, it’s not an excuse, he identified, earlier than including: “I definitely need to improve. Both in terms of performances and results.” 

The Sea Games in Hanoi could also be his seventh competitors of the 12 months, however he isn’t complaining.

It’s one journey he wouldn’t need to miss. And a gold medal would make the journey all of the extra candy.

Catch the thirty first SEA Games Vietnam 2021 LIVE on meWATCH. Sign in now at www.mewatch.sg/seagames and get into the motion with Mediacorp. Or catch highlights on Mediacorp Entertainment on YouTube.

'It definitely means a lot to me': World badminton champion Loh Kean Yew targets elusive SEA Games gold

Matthew Mohan

Source : channelnewsasia.com

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