SINGAPORE: On Thursday, December 8, Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew suffered his second defeat of the season-ending Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals in Bangkok.
In their Group B match, Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie defeated Loh 21-16, 20-22, and 10-21.
In their five previous encounters, Christie had never defeated him. Their most recent meeting took place in April at the Badminton Asia Championships, prior to their match in Bangkok.
In a match that lasted just over an hour, Christie won the second and third sets after coming back from a set down.
In his first Group B match on Wednesday, Loh defeated Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-17, which took 42 minutes.
The 2021 best on the planet will next confront Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting on Friday. In their first Group B match on Thursday, Ginting defeated Chou 21-14, 12-21, and 21-19.
Loh is as of now third in his gathering.
Group A, world number 1 On Wednesday, both Kodai Naraoka of Japan and Viktor Axelsen won their first matches.
The main two from each gathering will continue to the semi-finals, with Loh currently expecting to beat Ginting to make the last four.
Depending on how he does at the year’s final tournament, the 25-year-old could reach a career-high ranking of number 2 on the world’s best players list.
After the final group matches are over, the draw for the semi-finals will be made on Friday.
Global No. 3 Loh is the first man from Singapore to qualify for the prestigious tournament, which runs until December 11. The World Tour Finals features the current top eight singles and doubles players and has a prize pool of US$1.5 million.
Capital City: This weekend, South African clubs will compete for the first time in the Champions Cup of European Rugby. This is another sign that the country is moving away from the global south and into more lucrative markets.
The Sharks, based in Durban, will be South Africa’s first team when they play Harlequins, an English team, on Saturday afternoon, and the Bulls, based in Pretoria, will play Lyon, a French team, in the evening. Clermont is another French team that Cape Town Stormers will play.
While their elite teams are participating in a second season of the United Rugby Championship (URC), which includes clubs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Italy, this will be a step up in opposition and media attention for South African Rugby.
Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, stated, “It has happened earlier than planned, but this has now become reality, which is really great news.”
“By playing in the Northern Hemisphere, I firmly believe we are on the right path, and we absolutely can’t wait to get involved in the (European) competitions because it will only further enhance the local game,”
Last season, the Stormers defeated the Bulls in an all-South African final to win the URC. The Bulls’ coach, Jake White, is aware of the challenge that the three teams face in the Champions Cup.
“We will face teams with a lot of international players. White, who won the 2007 World Cup with South Africa, stated, “European teams don’t just draw from the player pool of their country; they have stars from all the top rugby nations.”
I worry that South Africans aren’t quite prepared for the future. Teams in the Champions Cup are much more powerful than those in the URC. They have stunning backs and boast packs that weigh more than a thousand kilograms. I think we a little of a reminder from this end of the week.”
Conversely, when visiting sides travel to the Bulls, they will have to deal with summer heat at altitude of 30 degrees Celsius. Nonetheless, it works both ways.
Chris Smith, the Bulls’ flyhalf, stated, “You play on a bone-hard pitch in 30 degrees heat one weekend and experience biting cold, fierce wind, and torrential rain seven days later.”
Both the Bloemfontein Cheetahs and the Johannesburg-based South African Lions will compete in the secondary European Rugby Challenge Cup competition, which also begins this weekend.
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