Olympics: Singapore's Loh Kean Yew eases past refugee shuttler to record first win

Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew during the Singles Group Play Stage at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza during the Tokyo Olympics on July 26, 2021. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

TOKYO - There was a 20-minute delay to his scheduled 8pm Olympic debut, and there were no more players left on the other two courts at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza by the time he was playing his second game.

But Singapore shuttler Loh Kean Yew kept his focus to make sure his first Group G match at Tokyo 2020 was a positive memory as he beat refugee athlete Aram Mahmoud 21-15, 21-12 in 32 minutes on Monday (July 26).

World No. 42 Loh will play seventh-ranked Jonatan Christie on Wednesday to decide who progresses to the last 16 after the Indonesian beat Mahmoud 21-8, 21-14 on Saturday.

Against Loh, the Syrian was able to take leads early on in both games but once the 24-year-old found his rhythm, he was able to pull Mahmoud around the court with relative ease and find openings for the kill.

Christie will present a tougher challenge as the 23-year-old is the defending Asian Games men's singles champion.

He is also an inspired man, playing at the coronavirus-delayed Games in memory of his brother who died of the disease.

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