Year in Review 2022: Loh Kean Yew heads Yahoo Singapore's most-searched athletes list

(From left) Cristiano Ronaldo, Loh Kean Yew and Eilee Gu were the most searched athletes on Yahoo! Singapore in 2022. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)
(From left) Cristiano Ronaldo, Loh Kean Yew and Eilee Gu were the most searched athletes on Yahoo! Singapore in 2022. (PHOTOS: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — With the global easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions this year, sports fans were able to enjoy a full slate of top sporting events that feature the best athletes around the world.

So who are the most-searched athletes on Yahoo! Singapore this year? Here are the top five:

1. Loh Kean Yew

After his monumental triumph at the BWF World Championships last December, Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew became a household name amid his rapidly-rising fame.

While he did not win a title on the BWF World Tour circuit this year, his consistent performances allowed him to climb up to No.3 in the men's singles world rankings - the first time a male Singapore shuttler has cracked the top three.

With his boyish looks and swashbuckling style on the courts, Loh has quickly become the top sportsperson in Singapore, and duly won the Sportsman of the Year honour at the annual Singapore Sports Awards.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

One of the greatest footballers of this generation, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to his old club Manchester United in 2021 in a bid to lift the Red Devils to their first English Premier League (EPL) title since 2013.

But the stint soured badly as Man United could not integrate the 37-year-old successfully with the other players, and when new manager Erik ten Hag dropped him to the benches this season, Ronaldo's petulant side emerged as he refused to enter their EPL match against Tottenham.

Then just before the Qatar World Cup, he slammed Man United's treatment of him in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, a move which ultimately resulted in United terminating his contract.

3. Eileen Gu

Amid the strained diplomatic relationship between China and the United States, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing saw a fresh star that straddled between the two superpowers. Eileen Gu was born and raised in the US, but has competed for China since 2019 after requesting for a change of nation with the International Ski Federation.

Amid the intense spotlight at the Winter Games, Gu swept to two golds and one silver in the skiing competitions, establishing herself as one of the biggest stars of winter sports.

4. Joseph Schooling

Singapore's only Summer Olympic gold medallist came under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons this year. Reeling from a disappointing Tokyo Olympics as well as his father's death last year, Joseph Schooling had started the year on a positive note when he qualified for both the SEA Games and Asian Games.

However, he won just two golds and a bronze at the Hanoi SEA Games - a far cry from his nine-gold effort in 2015. Worse was to come in August, when he admitted to taking cannabis during the SEA Games.

Suspensions and fines ensued, and there is much uncertainty about whether Schooling would bring his brilliant swimming career to an end amid this fall from grace.

5. Rafael Nadal

Among the three tennis greats of this generation, Rafael Nadal was often predicted to be the one to succumb first to injuries, due to his hard-hitting playing style. Yet, the Spaniard has rubbished all those predictions by continuing to win major competitions at the age of 36.

At the Australian Open in January, Nadal came from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev to clinch his 21st Grand Slam title, breaking a three-way tie at 20 with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

He then added to the mark when he claimed his record-extending 14th French Open title in June, cementing his status as one of the greatest athletes of this generation.

Honourable mentions: Mario Gomez Garcia, Novak Djokovic, Mario Götze, Sergio Agüero, Roger Federer.

For more recaps of 2022, visit our Year in Review page.

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