Loh Kean Yew is first Singapore men's shuttler to reach No.5 world ranking

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew returns a shot at the 2022 BWF World Championships.
Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew returns a shot at the 2022 BWF World Championships. (PHOTO: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Shuttler Loh Kean Yew moved up two spots in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) men's singles world rankings to No.5 on Tuesday (4 October), becoming the first Singaporean to reach the top-five spots.

The 2021 world champion replaces former world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan, who drops down to world No.7. He has 81,594 rankings points, placing behind Denmark's Viktor Axelsen (122,606) and Anders Antonsen (92,700), Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia (91,578) and Taiwan's Chou Tien-chen (89,576).

The 25-year-old's rise up the rankings comes as the BWF removed world ranking points earned from as far back as 2020. The points had remained as competitions were suspended from March to October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many others were postponed.

Before Loh's world No.5 ranking, Ronald Susilo was the previous highest-ranked Singaporean men's shuttler, after reaching No.6 in 2004. Women's singles shuttler Zarinah Abdullah reached as high as world No.3 in 1994.

Across the five competitive categories in badminton - men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles - a total of 10 Singaporeans have made into the top 10 rankings.

Better chance at avoiding top players until late in the draw

For 25-year-old Loh, having a high ranking will give him a better chance at avoiding the top seeds in premier competitions until the quarter- or semi-finals. It will also give him a better chance at qualifying directly for the 2024 Paris Olympics and potentially separate him for the other top-ranked players in the opening group stage at the Games.

Despite not being able to retain his Badminton World Championships title this year, Loh has advanced deep into many of the events he competed in this year. He reached the finals of the India Open and SEA Games, as well as the semi-finals of the Indonesia Masters and the Singapore Open.

After a month's rest, he is currently preparing for the Denmark Open, which starts on 18 October. He is currently 11th in the race to the BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, where only the top eight shuttlers of the year qualify.

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