Love is in the air as Singapore badminton player Loh Kean Yew eyes Paris Olympics tilt, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper
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Love is in the air as Singapore badminton player Loh Kean Yew eyes Paris Olympics tilt

With a deft tap, Singapore’s top badminton player Loh Kean Yew surprised his audience with a stunning drop.

On Dec 24, 2023, the men’s singles world No. 10 posted four pictures of his wedding proposal set against the backdrop of the Marina Bay Sands with the caption: “Last year today, she said yes.”

On Christmas Day, he lobbed winning shots of the couple’s wedding photos in what appeared to be the Musee Rodin in Paris, France, celebrating their “ROM (Registry of Marriages) anniversary” which revealed that they had tied the knot in the first quarter of 2023.

The 26-year-old, who is known to be tight-lipped about their relationship, did not post any frontal views of his wife and declined to reveal further details.

However, he told The Straits Times: “This is a big milestone in our lives. I’m thankful for her understanding about my busy schedule and the sacrifices she has to make.

“While I’m happy to share the good news with everyone on social media, I hope people will understand and respect our need for some privacy.”

It has been a whirlwind few years for Loh, who was world No. 42 when he was knocked out at the group stage of the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021. Five months later, he returned from Huelva, Spain as Singapore’s first badminton world champion.

In 2022, he rose to a career-high world No. 3 and became the first Singaporean man to qualify for the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals – just weeks before his wedding proposal.

There were some lows and as he worked on his game to stay competitive at the top, he struggled on court at times and slipped to 10th in the rankings.

After finding joy in his personal life in 2023, he is dreaming of more at the July 26-Aug 11 Paris Olympics when he aims to become the first Singaporean to win a badminton medal at the Games.

Loh said: “Since the last Olympics, it’s been a challenging journey of finding my way and place among the top players. I’ve had highs and lows and the work on improvement in every aspect never ends.

“The Olympics is the pinnacle of most athletes’ careers and hence 2024 will be significant for me too.

Ultimately, the proof of the work we put in will be in competition and we’ll see how it goes from the first tournament in Malaysia. It’s another tough draw, but I’ll give it my all.”

After ending his season at the China Masters in November, he took a short break before returning to the training court.

On Jan 2, he flew to Thailand to train with world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn at the Banthongyord Badminton School before taking on Denmark’s top ranked Viktor Axelsen in the first round of the Jan 9-14 Malaysia Open. The Asian swing in January will take him to India, Indonesia, and possibly back to Thailand.

With Loh and women’s singles world No. 22 Yeo Jia Min on course to qualify for the Olympics, Singapore Badminton Association technical director Martin Andrew said that the plan for 2024 would be to improve their levels and world rankings – Loh to the top eight and Yeo to the top 14 – as they target seeding places in Paris.

He added: “For (world No. 22) mixed doubles pair Terry and Jessica Tan, it’s about trying to seal the qualification place, which is difficult but possible. They did well to overcome a rough start to 2023 and end the year strong, and we look forward to building on that momentum in 2024.

“We will be seeking to balance training opportunities with a hectic competition schedule, and prior to the Olympics, we will be training in Denmark.”

Loh Kean YewOlympicsOLYMPICS 2024badmintonSINGAPORE SPORTS