World Badminton Champion Loh Kean Yew on Monday exuded confidence of performing well at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open starting at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall, IG Stadium here from Tomorrow.
Singapore’s first World Championships gold medallist admitted that he hasn’t got enough time to train after his triumph in Huelva, Spain, but was hopeful of commencing the New Year with a title win.
The champion, seeded fifth at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, is aware that he would be the player to beat this year after the stupendous run in the World Championship but points out that it won’t be easy to maintain the same form in every tournament.
“I ended the year on a high so it was a good year… Nobody will always win. The pressure is always there. I just hope that I can play the best and I can perform,” he opined.
Loh defeated Kidambi Srikanth in the World Championships final and the Indian who is top-seeded here is expected to be his biggest challenger along with bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, who is playing in this tournament for the first time.
“There are a lot of good players here and it is not going to be an easy competition for sure. Everyone is coming here to do well… same for me too. I also want to do well and I also want to win this tournament,” said Loh, who will open his campaign against Canada’s Xiaodong Sheng on Tuesday.
Before going to Spain, Loh had trained in Dubai with Tokyo Olympics champion Viktor Axelsen and Sen and said the young Indian was an extremely talented player.
“He is a very good friend of mine and I actually have a very good relationship and I am happy to see him do well in his first world championship,” Loh said.
Meanwhile, the experienced Indian men’s doubles combination of B Sumeeth Reddy and Manu Atri along with men’s singles fourth seed Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand have withdrawn from the competition.
However, Sumeeth will be in action in mixed doubles alongside Ashwini Ponnappa with the pair taking on second seeds Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova in the opening round.
Among women’s players, eighth seed Fitriani Fitriani and women’s doubles top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Projongjai of Thailand have also pulled out.