SINGAPORE: Singapore's first badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew on Sunday (Apr 30) lost in the men's singles final of the 2023 Badminton Asia Championships but walked away with another milestone to his name.
A blistering tournament run by the world No 7 ground to a halt at the hands of Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who took just half an hour to trounce Loh 21-12, 21-8 at Dubai's Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Indoor Hall and claim the prestigious continental crown.
But the Singaporean still made history by becoming the first from his country to win a silver medal at the Asian tournament, bettering the bronze achieved by Indra Wijaya in the men's singles in 2001, Xiao Luxi in the women's singles in 2002 and the mixed doubles pair of Hendri Saputra and Li Yujia in 2006.
Loh's form had been patchy at best since reaching a career-high world No 3 in the rankings in November.
The 25-year-old couldn't make it past the quarter-finals of both the Malaysia and India Open in January; and exited in the first or second rounds in subsequent tournaments in Indonesia, Germany and England.
But he embarked on a tear in Dubai, not dropping a single game as he steamrolled India's Lakshya Sen, Jordan's Bahaedeen Ahmad Alshannik, Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu and China’s Lu Guang Zu en route to Sunday's showdown with Ginting.
It would have been a complete turnaround but for the dominance of Indonesia's world No 2, who also came out on top when he last met Loh at the 2022 World Tour Finals. Their head-to-head record now stands at four wins to Ginting and two to Loh.
Watch highlights of the Badminton Asia Championships 2023 on mewatch at mewatch.sg/bac2023.