Update on Jan. 18, 5:50pm: A previous version of this article stated that a total of S$617,878 was raised for Loh. The amount has been amended to S$417,878.
Members of the public have collectively raised S$367,878 for badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew in just two weeks.
The public has been forthcoming with their support after it was revealed that Loh did not win any prize money for his world championship win in December 2021.
The crowdfunding page on the Ray of Hope platform was set up on Jan. 2 by the managing director of Pine Garden's Cake, Wei Chan, who is himself an avid badminton player and fan.
Chan had approached the crowdfunding charity organisation after many members of the public approached him hoping to show their gratitude to Loh.
The platform ensures that all of the funds raised will go to Loh directly, a Ray of Hope spokesperson previously told Mothership.
A Ray of Hope spokesperson also confirmed with Mothership that the Loh Kean Yew Encouragement Fund, as it has been named, closed on Jan. 17.
Among the 726 donors was an Indonesian-Chinese palm oil tycoon who chipped in S$200,000.
Aside from the S$367,878 raised, another S$50,000 had previously been raised by Chan and four other businesspeople.
This means that Loh will receive a total sum of S$417,878.
Government provides extensive support to Singapore athletes
The topic of the absence of prize money for Loh's win was raised in Parliament by MP Xie Yao Quan.
Xie also asked for the government to share more about the support and assistance athletes receive.Minister for Culture, Community & Youth Edwin Tong responded that in the last three years, the government has invested an average of almost S$90 million each year to develop and operate stadiums, running tracks, sports halls and other venues.
In addition, the government also provides extensive support for elite athletes who participate in competitions.
Every year, the government also invests around S$70 million in the High Performance Support system, which nurtures elite athletes and provides them with end-to-end support and development.
Over the past five years, this investment has funded things like new technological systems for sports science facilities, building world-class training facilities and undertaking research and development.
Won second-place in India Open
Loh recently suffered a loss to India's Lakshya Sen during the 2022 India Open on Jan. 16, finishing second in the tournament.
As the runner-up, Loh will receive US$15,200 (S$20,486) in prize money.
Several donors left comments of encouragement on the Ray of Hope platform following Loh's loss.
"There are both victories and losses in the competitive world, what’s most important is not to be cocky when you win, and not to lose heart when you lose. Remember your initial heart when you first started out, continue to fight on, and carry on with determination. Go! Fighting!"
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Top photo from lohkeanyew / IG