Returning to Malaysia is something Loh Kean Yew is always fond of, and the world champion is looking to rekindle some of those childhood memories at the Malaysia Open, even without his parents at the stands.
Loh is slated for a tough draw at the Super 750 event, which begins on Tuesday, as he takes on Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu.
Should he win that, an encounter against world number one Viktor Axelsen beckons.
The Penang-born, who met some of his childhood friends since touching down, said he would be looking forward to doing well at the Axiata Arena.
“I was born in Penang, and that is a place I miss a lot. I also miss my parents who unfortunately will not be coming down for this event.
“But the food here is always good, and now I am looking forward to my match. Lee is a tough opponent, so I will focus on that without thinking about facing Axelsen after that,” Loh told Stadium Astro.
Loh won one title in Malaysia when he beat Cheam June Wei to clinch the Malaysia International title in 2017.
The shuttler, who turned 25 on Sunday, also spoke a little on the adulation that shuttlers had been receiving from fans, who converged outside their team hotel and shopping malls to get a glimpse of their favourite players.
“It’s a great thing for the sport and the players. Badminton’s viewerships are increasing and as a result the sport is becoming more popular.
“The fans wanting to engage and get to know us better only motivates us further, and we are thankful for them,” he added.
Meanwhile Monday’s session at the Axiata Arena saw almost all participating shuttlers arrive to test the courts ahead of the competition.
The Malaysian shuttlers were first to test the courts in the morning, followed by players from Singapore, Indonesia, India, Spain, Ukraine, China, South Korea, Thailand, Japan and Chinese Taipei.
There were several big name withdrawals to the Malaysia Open including world number one men’s doubles pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Denmark’s Anders Antonsen.