HANOI: In a match where he gave it his all, but it proved not enough, badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew's quest for the elusive SEA Games singles gold once again came to an end.
The Singaporean took silver at the 31st SEA Games after losing to Thailand’s world number 18 Kunlavut Vitidsarn on Sunday (May 22).
"I just went in and tried my best, and it just wasn't enough," Loh told reporters after a 13-21, 13-21 defeat to his 21-year-old opponent.
At the Bac Giang gymnasium, the world number 10 got off to a good start and led 9-5 in the first game. But Kunlavut kept calm and capitalised on a number of the Singaporean's errors at the net to take the advantage.
The Thai continued his momentum into the second game, leading from start to finish.
On Saturday, the Singaporean beat Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh in the semi-finals after a nail-biting 21-15, 10-21, 23-21 victory.
But Loh refused to use the fatiguing semi-finals loss as an excuse.
"I was definitely tired. Of course, my opponent was also tired. It's about how you manage it and he managed it better than me," he explained.
"I definitely feel I can play better than this," said Loh. "I'll go back and talk to my coach and work on some things and try to improve and get better."
The last Singaporean to win the men's singles event was Wong Shoon Keat at the 1983 SEA Games.
24-year-old Loh had also made the finals at the 2019 Games but took silver after being beaten by Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia. Loh also has a singles bronze from the 2015 edition.
This is the third career meeting between Loh and Kunlavut. Prior to the match, they had won one encounter each.
Kunlavut beat Singapore’s Jason Teh 21-11, 21-12 in the other men’s singles semi-finals.