Loh Kean Yew wins his first Sportsman of the Year award
It continues to be a week of firsts for Singapore badminton star Loh Kean Yew.
Just two days after he broke into the top three in the world rankings for the first time in his career, the 25-year-old beat former world No. 1 pool player Aloysius Yapp to win his maiden Sportsman of the Year award on Thursday at the Singapore Sports Awards.
Chinese-born Singaporean table tennis player, Yu Mengyu, 33, won the Sportswoman of the Year over fencer Amita Berthier and bowler Shayna Ng.
Yu, a first-time winner of the award had won plaudits at the Tokyo Games in 2021 after fighting through an injury in the semi-final against China’s eventual gold medallist Chen Meng, before losing to Japan’s Mima Ito in the third-place play-off.
She announced her retirement in March to take up a role as an assistant coach for the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s junior development squad for high potential athletes aged nine to 12 years old.
The awards on Thursday were held at a glitzy ceremony at the Marina Bay Sands Orchid Ballroom to honour national athletes and coaches for their performances and achievements in 2021.
The annual event, which was organised by the SNOC and Sport Singapore (SportSG) and supported by the Tote Board, was making its return after a one-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic.
There were eight main awards presented. Singapore Bowling Federation national head coach Jason Yeong-Nathan won Coach of the Year, while the men’s bowling team of Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong, Jonovan Neo and Jomond Chia were awarded team of the year.
Table tennis player Ser Lin Qian won Sportsgirl of the Year while kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder was awarded Sportsboy of the Year. The Straits Times was also a winner with assistant sports editor Rohit Brijnath winning the Most Inspiring Sports Story of the Year for his story –“The best but most unsparing teacher in sport: Losing”.
By winning the Sportsman of the Year award, Loh becomes only the second badminton player to be awarded the top honour after Ronald Susilo in 2005.
In December 2021, Loh became the first Singaporean to win the BWF World Championship. Before that historic triumph, he had also won the Dutch Open in October and Germany’s Hylo Open a month later.
In April, he was also crowned the ST Athlete of the Year 2021.
Up next for Loh is the Nov 15-20 Australian Open, where he just needs to beat India’s Mithun Manjunath in the first round to seal his spot at the prestigious season-ending World Tour Finals.
Sportsman of the Year: Loh Kean Yew (badminton)
Sportswoman of the Year: Yu Mengyu (table tennis)
Sportsboy of the Year: Maximilian Maeder (sailing)
Sportsgirl of the Year: Ser Lin Qian (table tennis)
Coach of the Year: Jason Yeong-Nathan (bowling)
Team of the Year (Event): Bowling men’s team (Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong, Jonovan Neo and Jomond Chia)