Being ‘brave’ pays off: Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew ends two-year title drought

“I’m happy that I can finally get a title again,” said Loh. “I’m just happy.”

It has been a tough few years for the 26-year-old, dealing with the pressure of a world title win and the weight of expectations.

Since that momentous win in 2021, he has struggled in tournaments to take that final step to the top.

“Even if people don’t say anything, I have my own expectations. Which athlete doesn’t want to win?” he said.

“Whether it is pressure from others or myself, I obviously have that (pressure).”


Before Madrid, Loh last won a tournament at the World Championships in December 2021, when he went on a fairytale run and upset a number of higher-ranked players, including Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen. 

He is the only Singaporean to win a BWF World Championships title.

The 26-year-old made it to the finals of the Korea Open in July 2023 and the Thailand Masters in February 2024, but fell to Denmark’s Anders Antonsen and Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien-chen respectively.

“Some parts were about trying to cope with the pressure, some parts were about trying to work on the consistency,” Loh explained.

“Some parts were about trying to find myself, some parts were about trying to find confidence. There was a lot going on.

“It’s not so straightforward that you lose today and you work on something and you win the next day.”

Next up for Loh will be the Badminton Asia Championships in April, and the Singaporean will compete in the Paris Olympics later this year.

As these new challenges await, he will need to stick to his mantra and once again, be brave.

“I’m very, very thankful for the fans and supporters that have always been supporting me. This will never change,” he said.

“There were a lot who were always still cheering me up and encouraging me to do better.”

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