Fans raise money for Badminton World Champion Loh Kean Yew
Discovering Loh Kean Yew from Singapore has not received any prize money for his BWF World Championships win, fellow countrymen and badminton fans stepped in to raise money.
Young Singaporean badminton sensation Loh Kean Yew made history at the BWF World Championships when he went on to defeat former World No. 1 Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth in straight games, 15-21, 20-22 to claim the crown for himself and become the first shuttler from Singapore to achieve this rave a feat.
However, quite surprisingly, the 24-year-old has not received a single penny for this achievement that saw him taking out even the World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen en route to the coveted title.
Immediately swinging into action seeing how Loh Kean Yew has not received any prize money, the people of Singapore, led by an avid badminton fan and businessman, Wei Chan, the managing director of Pine Garden's Cake, started the "Loh Kean Yew Encouragement Fund" campaign on platform Ray of Hope on 2nd January, Sunday. This garnered massive support from fellow Singaporeans who collectively pooled in S$127,759.06 raised from 564 donors to show support and encourage Loh Kean Yew for his achievements.
"I felt compelled to do something to thank him for what he has achieved for himself and Singapore, and further encourage him towards his badminton hope and dreams," Chan, who launched the page on Sunday, wrote.
Wei Chan, who is a keen badminton enthusiast and plays the sport himself very well understands the trials and tribulations a player has to go through to reach the summit of any tournament and win.
"Having gone through rigorous training of sorts, I know the amount of sheer hard work, perseverance, tenacity, and grit that is required for Loh to achieve what he did, love for the game aside," Chan mentioned to The Straits.
Much of the fund – S$50,000 (HK$288,000) – was donated by Chan and four other Singaporean business leaders, Ang Kiam Meng (Jumbo Group), Daryl Neo (DC Frontiers), Dora Hoan (Best World International), and Eugene Ang (JK Technology).
Loh Kean Yew, who has recently reached his career-highest ranking of World No. 10 was overjoyed with the victory at Huelva and especially for what it means to his home country, Singapore.
"I'm honoured to deliver this first gold for Singapore. I know many Singaporeans have been staying up to follow my progress, and I want to thank everyone for their support and for being a huge motivation," the talented youngster mentioned.
"I feel I have improved over the past few months, but I still have a long way to go to be where I want to be, and I will continue to work hard to be even better as I chase my dream of winning an Olympic medal for Singapore," Yew said, the hunger ever-present to go out and conquer more.
Singapore has always been a badminton-loving nation and to show how much the people of Singapore appreciate and love Loh Kean Yew for his history-making act, the fans readily raised money to cheer on their World Champion. "[Loh's] win shows what we, as a little red dot, can achieve in the global badminton sporting arena," Chan told The Business Times after discovering that Loh did not win any prize money.