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Loh Kean Yew nominated for BWF Male Player of the Year award

Rather aptly, the world’s top three men’s singles players have been shortlisted for the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Male Player of the Year award.

They are Denmark’s reigning world champion and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, Malaysia’s Asian champion and world No. 2 Lee Zii Jia and Singapore’s 2021 world champion and world No. 3 Loh Kean Yew.

The BWF released its Player of the Year Awards shortlist on Monday and shared that the nominees were selected based on performances from Nov 1, 2021 to Oct 30, 2022.

The awards will recognise the achievements of elite able-bodied and para players in eight categories.

Cheekily, Loh had posted an Instagram story to say he would vote for himself.

However, the winners will be chosen by the BWF Awards Commission and the awards will be handed out at the BWF Player of the Year Awards held in Bangkok on Dec 5 in conjunction with the BWF World Tour Finals 2022 gala dinner.

It is understood that this is the first time a Singaporean player has made the shortlist, but Loh has already developed a knack for creating history.

During the assessment period, Loh had won the Hylo Open and reached the Indonesia Open final in November 2021. He then stunned the badminton fraternity by becoming the first Singaporean to win the World Championship in December.

His exploits helped him become Singapore’s Sportsman of the Year and Singapore Badminton Association’s Player of the Year as well as The Straits Times’ Athlete of the Year.

While he has yet to win a title in 2022, the 25-year-old was happy with his consistency as he made it to at least the quarter-finals in 12 out of the 16 individual events he has played. Of these, eight out of 12 are BWF World Tour events.

This helped him reach a career-high in the world rankings – also a joint-Singapore record alongside 1990s star Zarinah Abdullah – and qualify for the Dec 7-11 BWF World Tour Finals as one of the eight best performing men’s singles players of the year.

Loh is the first Singaporean man to qualify for the prestigious season-ender, after women’s singles teammate Yeo Jia Min became the first player from the Republic to achieve the feat in 2021.

However, Axelsen will be the man to beat as he won a whopping seven BWF World Tour titles, as well as the world and European Championships, during the assessment period. He was also the 2020-2021 BWF Male Player of the Year.

Lee, on the other hand, won the Thailand Open and Asian Championships, but failed to qualify for the World Tour Finals.

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