SINGAPORE – Despite losing 21-15, 19-21, 21-14 to Japanese world No. 3 Akane Yamaguchi in the second round of the Indonesia Open on Thursday (Nov 25), the Republic’s top female shuttler Yeo Jia Min had good reason to be upbeat.

The world No. 18 has done enough to become the first Singaporean to qualify for the season-ending Badminton World Federation World Tour Finals. The event will also be held at the Bali International Convention Centre from Dec 1-5.

The US$1.5 million (S$2.05 million) World Tour Finals will feature the top eight singles and doubles players with the most BWF World Tour points in a calendar year.

Following a string of fine results that include a runner-up finish at the BWF World Tour Super 500 Hylo Open in Germany, which also led to her career-high world ranking, Yeo is projected to finish ninth on the Road to Bali rankings.

With each country allowed to field a maximum of only two players at the World Tour Finals, the 22-year-old will move past two of the four Thais ahead of her in the rankings to qualify as the seventh seed.

There are no more players left in the ongoing US$850,000 Indonesia Open, which is a tier below the Finals, who can overtake Yeo in the rankings.

Singapore Badminton Association chief executive officer Alan Ow said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Singapore badminton, and we are proud of Jia Min for creating history.

“Singapore has a lot of talented shuttlers. Hopefully Jia Min’s feat inspires them and gives them confidence that we are able to compete on the world stage.

“Jia Min and (Loh) Kean Yew have gained valuable experience from the last Olympics and this can be seen in their recent performances. It is important that they keep up this level of consistency and keep improving as we work towards Paris 2024.”

World No. 26 Loh is scheduled to take on Japan’s world No. 1 Kento Momota in the Indonesia Open for a place in the quarter-finals, and needs to win to keep alive his slim hopes of making it to the Tour Finals.

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