Badminton: Danish delight for Singapore shuttlers

Loh Kean Yew's contract will run from this month to January, while Yeo Jia Min's will be from this month to December.
Loh Kean Yew's contract will run from this month to January, while Yeo Jia Min's will be from this month to December.ST FILE PHOTOS
Loh Kean Yew's contract will run from this month to January, while Yeo Jia Min's will be from this month to December.
Loh Kean Yew's contract will run from this month to January, while Yeo Jia Min's will be from this month to December.ST FILE PHOTOS

Loh, Yeo ink short-term pro stints with clubs in Denmark; Yeo to also play tournaments

Some of the highlights of Loh Kean Yew's time at the Singapore Sports School were training trips to badminton powerhouses Malaysia and Indonesia, which enabled him to learn "a lot".

While the 21-year-old has since graduated, his steep learning curve is not about to end after the SSP and the Singapore Badminton Association facilitated short-term professional contracts with Danish teams for him and Yeo Jia Min.

Loh will feature for Langhoj Badminton Club from this month to January. Yeo, 19, has signed for the Ab Aarhus club. Her contract runs from this month to December.

Men's singles world No. 157 Loh told The Straits Times: "I am excited at this opportunity as I will get to experience the European style of badminton, where there is more power, speed and endurance.

"I hope I can learn more during this trip and incorporate some new things into my own playing style and become a better player."

Women's singles world No. 61 Yeo said: "I am very thankful for this chance; opportunities like these don't come by very often.

"I hope to see how they handle the physical and tactical aspects during training, which I heard focuses more on quality rather than quantity.

TRAINING TACTICS

I hope to see how they handle the physical and tactical aspects during training.

YEO JIA MIN , women's singles world No. 61, who will play for AB Aarhus.

GOOD FOR ALL-ROUND DEVELOPMENT

Going to Denmark will be a good experience for Jia Min and Kean Yew. It will allow 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.

MULYO HANDOYO, national singles head coach

"Also, I heard that they do a lot of analysis of their play and I hope to find out which areas - especially tactics - I can improve."

This is not the first time that Singaporean shuttlers have plied their trade overseas though.

As national players, the likes of Derek Wong, Vanessa Neo and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta played for Malaysia's Purple League clubs, while former Singapore internationals Zhang Beiwen and Yao Lei are currently playing for Danish side Vendsyssel Elite Badminton.

Badminton legend and former Badminton Association of Malaysia technical director Morten Frost - who is with AB Aarhus - 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, play in the Dutch Open, German Open, Norway International and Scottish Open during her stint, in addition to the Danish domestic league.

She will train with AB Aarhus thrice a week, as well as four times weekly 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.

Singapore Badminton Association president Lawrence Leow said: "The SBA has been studying the Denmark 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 stint."

National singles head coach Mulyo Handoyo, who had identified Loh and Yeo as having the potential to become world-class players, added: "Going to Denmark will be a good experience for Jia Min and Kean Yew. It will allow 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 are crucial for players playing at the highest levels."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'Danish delight for Singapore shuttlers'. Print Edition | Subscribe