Friday October 19, 2012
Koo-Tan down South Korean pair in thriller
ODENSE: Men’s doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat has a soft spot for the Denmark Open – having won it three times.
On Wednesday, Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong defied the odds to beat the South Korean pair of Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun 8-21, 21-16, 21-19 in a thrilling match that had the fans on the edge of their seats – especially in the decider.
It was only a first round victory but it meant so much to Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who are desperately searching for a significant win to restore their confidence and tattered image.
The duo, brushed off by many as no-hopers these days, have been given a one-year reprieve by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to turn their fortunes around after missing out on the bronze medal at the London Olympic Games.
Kien Keat was clearly relieved with the win over the Koreans.
“I think I have been most successful in the Denmark Open. It is one of my favourite venues and this win today against the Koreans will be special,” said Kien Keat, who won the title with Boon Heong in 2007 and 2009 and with Chan Chong Ming in 2005.
“Yong-dae is the experienced one but we also knew that his new partner will be no pushover. We knew the match won’t be easy. But the opening game was a disaster. We were like kids playing against adults.
“Thanks to our coaches (Pang Cheh Chang and Jeremy Gan, who were seated at the back), they kept motivating us.
“My smashes were going into the net ... but the hunger for victory was really strong and I am glad we pulled it off.”
The decider was a tense affair, especially when the Koreans started piling the pressure and Boon Heong seemed to be running out of breath.
“At that point, we were just three points away from victory. We encouraged each other and hung on to finish well. It’s the start we dreamed of,” said Kien Keat.
Boon Heong said they must continue to ride on the momentum when they take on Denmark’s Jonas Rasmussen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen.
“It is a good win – especially when Koo and I are trying to re-establish our partnership. We needed it to boost our confidence. The tournament is far from over and we must focus on the next match,” said Boon Heong.