Badminton: Siblings produce sole bright spot as shuttlers fall short

Loh Kean Yew upset Wang Zhengming and his older brother Kean Yean had a shock doubles win with partner Terry Hee.
Loh Kean Yew upset Wang Zhengming and his older brother Kean Yean had a shock doubles win with partner Terry Hee.PHOTO: OUE SINGAPORE OPEN

Four losses over the past three days may have ended Singapore's participation in the ongoing Badminton Asia Team Championships but some outstanding performances from the country's young talents have produced a silver lining ahead of April's OUE Singapore Open.

A narrow 2-3 loss to the mighty Chinese men's team on Monday was spearheaded by the Loh siblings.

The younger Kean Yew, 18, defied his world No. 167 ranking and stunned 11th-ranked Wang Zhengming while his older brother Kean Yean, 20, partnered Terry Hee to shock world No. 11 and former All-England champions Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan.

They were unable to continue that form yesterday as both the Republic's men's and women's teams lost their respective final group matches 0-5 to hosts India and failed to progress to the knockout round.

SEA Games singles bronze medallist Kean Yew had injured his ankle during his match on Monday and it affected his movement as he fell 11-21, 18-21 to world No. 25 Ajay Jayaram.

But the Singaporean remained buoyed by his overall results at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad.

He said: "That victory made my opponent today more anxious. I could tell he studied my game very thoroughly and capitalised on my mistakes.

"Nevertheless, this has been a very good experience for me, playing with top shuttlers from around the world.

"One lesson I have learnt is to be patient and not rush myself and make unforced errors."

The Penang-born teenager is unquestionably talented but is still raw, noted national chief coach Chua Yong Joo.

"His performance wasn't as good compared to the match against China," said Chua. "His game lacks consistency."

He was also critical of the rest of the men's team, who struggled against India.

The only Singapore player to offer some resistance was No. 1 Derek Wong before he went down 16-21, 21-12, 13-21 to world No. 9 Srikanth Kidambi in just 49 minutes.

Singapore lost the other four ties in straight games and each in under 30 minutes.

Said Chua: "The Indian team played well today although I felt our team could have performed better.

"Derek gave a much improved performance but it wasn't enough to secure a point for us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'Siblings produce sole bright spot as shuttlers fall short'. Print Edition | Subscribe