Loh Kean Yew has Covid-19, withdraws from Swiss Open

Singapore’s first badminton world champion has withdrawn from the Swiss Open, which takes place this week (March 22-27) at St Jakobshalle in Basel.

Loh Kean Yew joins the more than 470 million people in the world known to have had Covid-19, and the last in the Singapore team to become infected. He tested positive Friday in Birmingham, the Singapore Badminton Association said The Straits Times. That was two days after he lost in the first round of the All-England Open to Anders Antonsen of Denmark, who ranks third in the world.

Loh had defeated Antonsen in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Huelva, Spain, and captured the gold medal on December 19, 2021. Antonsen came in that event equal to the bronze with Lakshya Sen of India.

On Wednesday morning, Loh also announced his withdrawal from the Swiss Open via social media, posting posts on Facebook and Instagram.

“The last few days have been with Covid, and therefore I had to withdraw from Swiss Open. My symptoms have been mild and I check my conditions closely. Thank you all very much for your care and attention. Beware and stay safe!”

He also wrote that he “will use the downtime to relax” and hopes to get back into training soon “to prepare for the upcoming tournament marathon in the coming months.”

Photo: FB screengrab / lohkeanyew

A relative for the Singapore Badminton Association told ST that Loh could not fly out until his Covid-19 tests were negative, “so essentially it’s a wait before he can leave and return to Singapore”.

The athlete will then train in Singapore until he goes to South Korea, for the Korea Open (April 5 to 10) and the Korea Masters (April 12 to 17).

Loh’s brother and fellow badminton player, Loh Kean Hean, still plays at the Swiss Open, in men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

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His partner for the men’s doubles is Terry Hee, and the pair are currently ranked 88th in the world. Their world tour ranking is 36th.

For mixed doubles, his partner is Tan Wei Han. Together they are ranked 69th in the world, and their ranking on world travel is 13th.

Loh Kean Yew’s rank is currently 10th in the world, and his ranking on world travel is 6th.

The Swiss Open would have been his first chance to compete as a seeded player in the Badminton World Federation World Tour.


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