SINGAPORE — What a week it has been for Loh Kean Yew.
On Monday, the former badminton world champion put himself in prime position to qualify for the season-ending World Tour Finals for the first time in his career. On Tuesday, he rose to a career-high No.3 in the world rankings - the highest position attained by a Singapore male shuttler.
To cap it all off, Loh was named the Sportsman of the Year at the annual Singapore Sports Awards ceremony held at Marina Bay Sands on Thursday night (10 November), pipping former world No.1 pool player Aloysius Yapp to the honour.
"Definitely one of the most special weeks of my career," he said after landing the award.
"It has not always been smooth-sailing, and there were definitely times when I felt very low last year. It's satisfying that after persevering through the lows, I could win this award. But yeah, it's back to work after this week."
The award caps a monumental year for the 25-year-old Loh. Besides winning the prestigious BWF World Championships men's singles title in Huelva last December, he also reached the finals of the India Open in New Delhi in January and the SEA Games competition in Hanoi in May.
Along the way, he helped Singapore national men's team qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals for just the third time in history, and defeated current world No.1 Viktor Axelsen twice at the World Tour tournaments. His world rankings steadily climbed from No.15 in January to No.9 in February, then to No.5 in October and finally to the lofty No.3 earlier this week.
Yu Mengyu finally clinches award upon retirement
In the Sportswoman of the Year category, paddler Yu Mengyu earned the accolades for her memorable swansong at last year's Tokyo Olympics, where she powered her way to fourth place in the women's singles competition despite suffering a thigh injury midway through the competition.
The 33-year-old - who retired earlier this year - edged out bowler Shayna Ng and fencer Amita Berthier for the award, and said, "I guess this is my final award as a table tennis player.
"But now that I'm starting out as a coach, I hope to one day win at this Singapore Sports Awards as a coach."
Kite-foiler Maximilian Maeder - the Formula Kite champion at the World Sailing Youth Championships - won the Sportsboy of the Year award over paddler Izaac Quek, while the Sportsgirl of the Year went to paddler Ser Lin Qian for coming in third in the U-15 girls' singles event at the World Youth Championships.
Bowling national head coach Jason Yeong-Nathan won Coach of the Year, while the men’s bowling team of Cheah Ray Han, Darren Ong, Jonovan Neo and Jomond Chia were awarded team of the year.
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