Despite winning the BWF Championship, national shuttler Loh Kean Yew did not receive any prize money.
But with donations pouring in from the public and sponsors, the second most famous LKY might be getting his pot of gold soon.
And the greatest contribution of $200,000 comes from no other than Indonesian tycoon Bachtiar Karim.
$200k Reward To Encourage Loh’s Olympic Dreams
Set up by the family of Indonesian tycoon Bachtiar Karim and his wife Dewi Sukwanto, the Karim Family Foundation has contacted SPH Media Trust’s Chinese Media Group to get in touch with Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) last week.
Their contribution of $200,000 was to reward Loh for his feat at the World Championships and also to encourage him to keep pursuing his dreams of medalling at the Olympics.
Through various family members’ statements, the family said that they saw great potential in Loh to become one of the world’s top players, and found him exceptional with his strong will to win. This incentive will make Loh a role model for youths.
The family would also like to show that sports can be pursued not just as a hobby, but also as a real job. This incentive can hopefully encourage more young Singaporeans to follow Loh’s footsteps so that Singapore can increase their sporting standards.
From Zero to $500k in Less Than A Month
19 December 2021 marked Loh as the new Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Champion. He also became the first Singaporean to win the World Championships.
Despite this feat, he did not win any prize money as the tournament does not offer any cash rewards. The only other major event in the sport without cash reward is the Olympics.
The Singapore National Olympic Council’s Major Games Award Programme, which is funded by Tote Board Group, only applies to the SEA, Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic games. This makes Loh’s win ineligible for the prize.
However, his prize money quickly grew as the public showed their support for Loh’s achievement for the nation. An SBA committee member, Wei Chan, personally started a crowdfunding exercise to get the ball rolling. The crowdfund, which started on 2 January, attracted more than 700 donors and totalled more than $165,000.
Inspired by the public’s support, local businesses, individuals, apparel sponsor Li-Ning and SBA have all contributed an additional $130,000.
His prize money, now at around half a million, could go up to a million soon. It is reported that the SBA is negotiating a million-dollar sponsorship deal that could stretch over multiple years.
Loh’s Humble Response
Being World Champion has not made Loh an airhead. Instead, he is more down-to-earth than ever, even while smashing through the India Open.
He expressed his gratitude to the many sponsors and supporters who have offered monetary and non-monetary rewards for his win. Reaffirming that making Singapore proud is his priority, he said that the support and recognition given toward local athletes meant a great deal to him.
He also thanked his alma mater Singapore Sports School, SBA, Li-Ning and Sport Singapore for supporting him every step of the way since he moved to Singapore, and credits his position on the podium to all his supporters.
SBA president Lawrence Leow also expressed appreciation for every form of support toward the athletes, coaches, and staff.
With the continued support of everyone, SBA will continue to cultivate more world-class players to make Singapore proud!
Singapore Shuttlers’ Current Winning Streak in New Delhi
Singapore’s shuttlers are bulldozing their way through the India Open, as everyone won their matches so far.
Mixed doubles world No. 182 Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han beat India’s No. 564 T, Hema Nagendra Babu and Srivedya Gurazada on Wednesday (12 January). They’ll face India’s Nithin H.V. and Ashwini Bhat K. in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Men’s doubles No. 106 Terry Hee and Loh Kean Hean (yes, he’s Loh Kean Yew’s brother) beat India’s No. 81 Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala on Wednesday as well. They also beat India’s unranked pair Gaurav Deswal and Shubham Yadav and is advancing to the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Loh Kean Yew beat Canada’s No. 69 Shen Xiaodong on Tuesday (11 January) and proceeded to beat 70th-ranked Malaysian Soong Joo Ven on 13 January. He’ll play in the quarterfinals as the top-ranked player amongst the competition.
Our women’s singles player Yeo Jia Min has remained undefeated as well, breezing through America’s No. 105 Disha Gupta and India’s No. 159 Anupama Upadhyaya. She will battle Thai’s 33rd-ranked Supanida Katethong in the quarterfinals.
We wish our national shuttlers all the best for the ongoing India Open!
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Featured Image: Facebook (Loh Kean Yew)
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