Badminton player Loh Kean Yew has emerged as a superstar to watch after he put Singapore on the map by becoming the first-ever Singaporean to win the Badminton World Federation World Championships in 2021.
This world title victory was a culmination of his dominance and sensational form over the past few months, especially during this tournament held in Huelva, Spain.
In the first round, the Singaporean stunned Dane Viktor Axelsen, Loh's mentor and currently the world number one.
Happy with performance
In a post-match interview, a jubilant Loh, who is only 24 years old, was asked about his feelings now that he has emerged as the best.
Loh had showed his gold medal to the camera, before exclaiming that he could no longer hide his feelings, and said he was "super, super happy" at the outcome.
He added that he is still very busy despite the year coming to an end and does not really have a lot of time to unwind, but cannot wait to see his parents and loved ones.
Here's a transcript of the two-and-a-half-minute interview.
Interviewer: "Do you realise how special that is for Singapore? You have the first Olympic gold with Joseph Schooling and now the first gold medal at the World Championships in badminton. How does that make you feel?
Loh Kean Yew: Now I can finally tell you that I'm really happy and no longer have to hold back. So ya, I'm super, super happy and I'm very thankful for all the fans who supported me, all the behind the scenes people, the sponsors, Li-Ning, Singapore Badminton Association, Team Singapore, SNOC, everyone.
They all stayed up late watching my match and supported me throughout, not only now, but like have been for a very long time, so ya. I'm very thankful for all those who helped me throughout my career.
Interviewer: You've been very focused all week in staying away from social media. What do you think will happen once you turn that social media on? I'm sure you will get a lot of attention in Asia and Singapore, of course.
Loh Kean Yew: I don't think I can finish replying everyone. I always try to but that's why I want to thank them all, and thank them here again, I don't know, I'm just very overwhelmed right now.
Interviewer: Just briefly on the match, that second game. Kidambi Srikanth was doing some really, really smart plays against you. And there's that one rally in particular, where he was about to keel at the net, three, four times and you remain solid and you won that point. That point, was it your day? Did you know that today was going to be your special day?
Loh Kean Yew: At that time I can't say that yet, because it could be anyone's game so I didn't think much if whether it's my day or not, so I just really focused on staying patient and focus on the game.
Interviewer: And lastly, it has been a long year, a busy year, I'm sure you are really tired now. But now you've got a chance to spend some time with your friends and family and recharge for 2022. How will you spend that?
Loh Kean Yew: I don't really have a lot of time but I haven't really thought of it yet, but I really would love to spend some time with them and also my family. I don't know if I can go back to my parents, I really want to give them a hug, my loved ones all, I just hope to be able to do that.
Interviewer: You've done great and you're the new superstar in badminton.
Loh Kean Yew: Long way to go.
Majulah Singapura played
In a separate clip uploaded by senior minister Teo Chee Hean showing the podium ceremony, Loh, despite wearing a mask, could be seen mouthing the words to the Singapore national anthem, Majulah Singapura, when it was played.At one point, towards the end of the anthem, Loh could also be seen momentarily overwhelmed by emotions as he closed his eyes for a few seconds, with the Singapore flag being raised.
Highlights of finals
Highlights of the final match can be viewed here:Loh beat India’s Kidambi Srikanth 21-15 and 22-20 in the BWF World Championships final on Sunday, Dec. 19.
The match started at around 9:50pm Singapore time and concluded at around 10:40pm.
Loh is currently ranked world number 22 in men's singles, moving four positions up from his previous rank of 26, while Kidambi is ranked 14th in the world.
Top photos via Badminton Europe YouTube & Teo Chee Hean Facebook
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