Badminton: S'porean Loh Kean Yew beats world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen

The apprentice has finally beaten his mentor.

Fiona Tan | December 14, 2021, 09:50 AM

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Singaporean Loh Kean Yew has beaten Denmark's Viktor Axelsen at the BWF World Championships on Dec. 13.

Loh's shock victory came close to two weeks after Axelsen defeated the Singaporean at the Indonesia Open men's singles.

BWF World Championships 2021

Loh, 24, is currently participating in the Badminton World Federation tournament that is held in Huelva, Spain, where he went head to head against his old foe, mentor, and titan Axelsen.

As it stands, Axelsen is currently ranked world number one, and eager to retain the title in the world championships.

Loh is currently ranked world number 22, moving four positions up from his previous rank of 26.

Previously in August, Loh participated in a month-long training camp with Axelsen in Dubai, before Loh's defeat when the duo faced off in October on Axelsen's home turf, Denmark, and once more in November in Bali, Indonesia.

The match in November has been dubbed as a meeting between a master and an apprentice, where Loh emerged second following a gruelling 59-minute match.

This time round in Spain, however, it seems that Loh's training has finally paid off and some of the Dane's lessons has rubbed off on the Singaporean shuttler.

Axelsen was narrowly ahead of Loh in the pair's first game, but Axelsen was unable to keep up with Loh and fell apart in the second and third game.

In a post-match interview, the Danish world champion defeatedly admitted: "Pretty much everything fell apart in the second and third [match]. Loh stepped up and I stepped down."

In what has been described as a nail biting back-and-forth game, where neither players held onto their leads for too long in the 54-minute game, Loh ultimately emerged victorious against the Olympic champion 14-21, 21-9, 21-6.

In a true David versus Goliath moment, Loh's win against the world champion comes after he was previously defeated by Axelsen five times.

Speaking to the media after the match, Loh said:

“I’m really happy with my win. After I lost the first game I needed to be fast in the second and third. I needed to stay focused. I didn’t know when he’d get back, and if he gets back his confidence, I would die!"

Loh will go up against Austria’s Luka Wraber and world number 93 in the round of 32.

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Top image from BWF World Championships website