Badminton: Singapore's Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min to play with European clubs

Loh Kean Yew will feature for Danish club Langhoj Badminton Club, while Yeo Jia Min has signed for Ab Aarhus, another Danish club. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Shuttlers Loh Kean Yew and Yeo Jia Min will play badminton professionally for two European clubs for the next few months, the Singapore Badminton Association and Singapore Sports School (SSP) announced on Friday (Oct 19) afternoon.

Yeo, 19, has signed for Danish club Ab Aarhus. Her contract runs from this month to December.

Loh, 21, will feature for Langhoj Badminton Club, another Danish club, from this month to January.

Both Singaporeans will leave for Denmark at the end of the month.

Loh told The Straits Times: "I am quite excited at this opportunity as I will get to experience more of the European style of badminton, where there is more power, speed and endurance.

"I hope to be able to incorporate some of the things I learn into my own playing style and become a better player."

Badminton legend and former Badminton Association of Malaysia technical director Morten Frost Hansen - who is with AB Aarhus now - contacted SSP's badminton academy general manager Desmond Tan last month to make the offer.

Frost proposed that Yeo, who has taken a leave of absence from SSP since 2016, to play in the Dutch Open, German Open, Norway International and Scottish Open during her stint.

She will train with AB Aarhus three times a week, as well as four times a week with the national centre in Denmark. She will also undergo additional personal training with the club's coach Zhang Qiang, who was part of China's 1986 Thomas Cup-winning team.

SSP principal Tan Teck Hock said: "Singapore Sports School tries to provide our student-athletes with as much overseas exposure and experience as possible so that they are sharper in their sport.

"A majority of our coaches and sports academy general managers had been high-performing athletes. They have a wide network of contacts, many of whom they had met during competition in their heyday. We appreciate Mr Morten Frost Hansen keeping in touch with our badminton academy general manager Desmond Tan, and even more for having Jia Min on his radar."

SBA president Lawrence Leow added: "The Singapore Badminton Association has been studying the Denmark badminton development pathway and club system closely, and we are in awe of the magnitude of success it has brought.

"This is why we are very excited for Jia Min and Kean Yew as we believe they will benefit greatly from their Denmark training and competition stint."

National singles head coach Mulyo Handoyo told ST: "Going to Denmark on this training and competition stint will be a good experience for Jia Min and Kean Yew, it allows them to be exposed to new cultures and different playing styles.

"This trip will also be useful for their personal development, it'll help them build important traits such as independence and adaptability which we find it crucial for players playing at the highest levels."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.