Acquainted with adversity, Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew gears up for second Olympics

After his world title, there was an 883-day wait for his next trophy. As time dragged on, it was evident that the weight of expectations was the price to pay for success. 

“I did think of it before, that (maybe) I won that title too early … But then again, it’s better earlier than never,” Loh said. 

“It was a good opportunity and … I seized the opportunity. I wouldn’t say winning was a curse because I would have needed to handle it sooner or later.”

He continues to trust in the process and his support system, which is his head coach Ho is integral to. 

“A big part of who I am today is because of him,” Loh added. 

For Paris, the goal is to add different dimensions to his game and make him a more complete player, said Ho.

“We’ll need him to keep consistent on his attacking gameplay. At the same time, we will need to work on defensive drills (and) his court coverage, so that whenever he plays opponents that are difficult to play with … he is able and ready to defend,” the coach added.

When it comes to a major tournament like the Olympics, it’s “anyone’s game”, said Loh.

At the last edition of the Games, it was Guatemalan badminton player Kevin Cordon who upset the apple cart. 

Cordon beat Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long in the group stages before battling his way to the semi-finals. The experienced 37-year-old eventually finished fourth. 

“There are a lot of upsets during big tournaments, because the more you want it, the harder (it might) get to perform.

“So it’s about how each and every player deals with their own pressure and also who can perform the best.”

Honing one’s mental game is key and Loh has worked with a sports psychologist over the years. 

“Everybody knows it (the mental part) is the toughest part of (an) athlete’s life,” he said.

“In the last two or three years, there have been a lot of constant challenges (whether) psychologically, mentally or emotionally.”

Now no longer the plucky underdog, the Singaporean will head to Paris as a battle-hardened contender with a long-stated goal of clinching an Olympic medal.

Others may have studied his game, but Loh hasn’t stood still and has figured out some things too. He has learnt, he has grown and the hope is that he is ready.

SOURCE: CNA ( RSS Latest News   (go to source)
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