On Nov. 7, Singaporean Loh Kean Yew made headlines by winning his first career Badminton World Federation World Tour Super 500 title.
The 24-year-old, who was ranked 39th in the world at the time, achieved this feat by defeating Malaysian Lee Zii Jia, who was ranked eighth in the world, in the men's singles final.
While Loh's victory was certainly a highlight for Singaporeans, it was a setback for Malaysians, whose representative had to settle for second place at the event.
In response to this setback, a certain Malaysian newspaper struck back by pointing out that Loh was originally born in Malaysia, and could very well have represented Malaysia at the event, if certain circumstances were different.
According to the newspaper's reckoning, the final of the tournament was a ex-Malaysian vs Malaysian event.
Loh is a product of the Penang Badminton Association
Malaysian publication New Straits Times published an article on Nov. 9, headlined "Penang-born makes Singapore proud".
The article claimed that Loh was in fact a product of the Penang Badminton Association (BA), given that he was born in Penang.
"Singaporeans are over the moon with the success of their trail blazing men's singles ace, but not many are aware that Kean Yew could have very well represented Malaysia. This is because he was born in Penang, and is a product of the Penang BA," wrote the NST article.
The article went on to say that Loh was "lured" by the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) when he was 12, a year after his elder brother Loh Kean Hean moved to Singapore in 2009.
The younger Loh was given a scholarship by the Singapore Sports School, and went on to represent Singapore on numerous occasions.
The NST article also mentioned Yeo Jia Min, another Singaporean badminton player who made it to the women's singles final of the same competition.
The article said the female badminton star also had links to Malaysia, as her parents were born in Malaysia, before moving to Singapore.
Singapore would scout for potential players in Malaysia
In addition, the NST article also cited a "source close to the BA of Malaysia", claiming that the SBA would join Malaysian tournaments during the holidays, in order to scout for potential players.
"It's not a wrong practice but they would try to entice the parents first," said the article.
It added that the SBA had approached several prominent Malaysian badminton players in the past, including Soniia Cheah, Lydia Cheah and Goh Jin Wei.
The article also claimed that the SBA initially started naturalising players from China, before the Chinese government clamped down on the practice, causing the organisation to shift their focus to players from Malaysia and Indonesia.
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Top image via Singapore Badminton Association/FB.