November 17, 2022
SINGAPORE – Loh Kin Yew’s 21-10, 21-9 win over Australia’s 427th-ranked Low Peet Seng may have been routine at the Australian Open on Wednesday, but it was a seismic victory in the greater scheme of things for the Singaporean. Number 3.
His 26-minute win at the Quay Center in Sydney was enough to seal his passage to the finals of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour, making him the first Singaporean to win the prestigious season’s umpire award.
The US$1.5 million (S$2.05 million) event, which moved from Guangzhou to Bangkok and switched from Tuesday 7-11 December to 14-18 December, features the year’s top eight singles and doubles performers.
Loh is currently seventh in the World Tour rankings and has enough points to avoid China’s Lu Guangzhou or Malaysia’s Li Zi Jia, either of whom will take the final spot.
Other men’s singles players are Danish world and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen, Taiwan’s Chow Tien-Chen, India’s H.S. Prannoy, Indonesians Jonathan Christie and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Japan’s Kodai Naraoka.
Loh, who will play China’s world number 27 Li Shifeng in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday, told The Straits Times. a story that hopefully can inspire others.”
However, he candidly admitted that he was confused in the calculation of the World Tour Finals ranking, which is different from the world ranking, which only counts the 10 highest scores and can draw on the previous year’s results.
Loh, who missed the final last year with just 1,510 points, said: “I thought I used the top 10 points as well, but I realized that the results from all the World Tour events of the year were not included until very late. The European swing last month.
“The race was both exciting and nerve-wracking because up until then I was 11th and trying to catch up to him, but my closest rivals were also doing well.
“It was so close, but so far away for me in 2021, so I’m just relieved to finally get it done. It’s a weight off my shoulders.”
In his first year of taking advantage of all of the World Tour’s top events, the Newlywed Athlete of the Year has yet to win an event.
However, he has reached at least the quarterfinals in 11 of 15 events (seven of 11 on the World Tour), and consistency has helped him qualify for the finals.
Loh said: “Qualifying for the World Tour Finals is a tangible reward for a year of consistent performances and results, so I’m pleased with my year so far.
“The six weeks I had – three in Singapore, one in Dubai and two in Denmark – to recover and train away from competition before the Danish Open was good.
“I will have about two weeks to prepare for the World Tour Finals. It’s a week earlier than originally scheduled, but I’ll just adjust as I would to the potentially hotter weather in Bangkok. I was looking forward to playing in front of the Chinese fans as we haven’t played there for a long time, but I’m sure the Thai fans will be just as passionate.
“Now that I’m there, of course I want to win the World Tour Finals. But these are the eight most consistent players of the year, so anything can happen. I’ll take it one at a time, and since it’s my first time there, every win will be a breakthrough.”
Singapore Badminton Association chief executive Alan Ow hailed Loh’s “great fighting spirit and resilience”.
He said. “We are extremely proud of Qin Yu. He did very well to get the results he needed to build some pretty big positions in a month.
“These included defeating the mighty Viktor Axelsen on his home court at the Denmark Open and other wins against former World No. 1 Srikanth Kidambi (Denmark Open) and former World No. 2 Shi Yuki (Hylo Open).
“We hope that Kin Yu’s achievements will continue to inspire future generations of athletes and we will give him all the support he needs to do well in Bangkok.”
Meanwhile, Loh could still be joined by compatriots Terry Hee and Jessica Tan in the Final.
With many top mixed doubles players opting not to head Down Under, the way is clear for the Commonwealth Games champions to break into the top eight of the rankings to qualify for the finals. They are currently 12th.
To do that, they need to win the Australian Open to secure enough points to move ahead of the four pairs currently in front.
They will play South Korea’s 22nd-ranked Seo Seung-jae and Chae Yoo-jung in the second round on Thursday.