Huelva, Spain, December 19, 2021: Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew is the new men’s badminton world champion!
The unseeded Loh, 24, beat India’s 12th seed Kidambi Srikanth 21-15, 22-20 in the 43-minute final of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva, Spain on Sunday, December 19 to bring glory to the island state.
The nimble feet, the steady hand and the sizzling smashes that had taken down top five players like Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen on previous days were on view once again; so, too, were the catlike lunges that blunted sure-shot winners from the other end.
“I cannot really think. At the start of the year, I just didn’t think this would happen. I’m very happy,” said Loh, from the Singapore Sports School.
“Srikanth’s a great attacking player. I had to prepare to defend well. It wasn’t easy to handle the pressure. I just tried to calm myself. I managed to stay patient.”
Kidambi rued his inability to convert his chances, but credited his opponent for keeping up the pressure all through the match.
“I had my chances in both games. I had a healthy lead in the opening game. Overall, I just wasn’t able to finish it, but he played very well. Sometimes these things happen. I tried to stay in the match, and it worked in the second game.
“Last time I played him was four years ago, that’s a very long time. He has matured as a player, and he did very well.”
In the women’s final, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, seeded two, beat top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 21-14, 21-11 in 39 minutes.
Thailand won the mixed doubles, China won the women’s doubles and Japan won the men’s doubles titles.
Mixed doubles: Dechapol PUAVARANUKROH/Sapsiree TAERATTANACHAI (seeded 2) beat Yuta WATANABE/Arisa HIGASHINO (3) 21-13, 21-14.
Women’s doubles: CHEN Qingchen/JIA Yifan (1) beat LEE So-hee/SHIN Seung-chan (2) 21-16, 21-17.
Men’s doubles: Takuro HOKI/Yugo KOBAYASHI (5) beat HE Jiting/TAN Qiang (16) 21-12, 21-18.