Making of a badminton champ: Loh Kean Yew left his home, family, school to chase his dreams

Photos of Loh Kean Yew winning the 2009 Malaysia's National Junior Grand Prix Under-12 (left) and representing the Singapore Sports School in 2010. PHOTOS: JONATHAN WONG, SINGAPORE SPORTS SCHOOL
New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

PENANG - Call it a mother's intuition. For Grace Gan, there were three moments in Loh Kean Yew's life which convinced her that her youngest son could become a successful professional badminton player.

The first was in 2009, when the Penang-born 11-year-old surprisingly won Malaysia's National Junior Grand Prix Under-12 title, beating the more-fancied Lee Zii Jia - this year's All England champion - in the final.

Already a subscriber? 

Dive deeper at $0.99/month

Want more exclusives, sharp insights into what's happening at home and abroad? Subscribe to stay informed.

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • 2-week e-paper archive so you never miss out on any topic that matters to you

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