Tuesday October 23, 2012
Joo-bong: Koo-Tan not over the hill yet
By RAJES PAUL
ODENSE: There was no fairytale ending for Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong at the Denmark Open but they still got the thumbs-up from former Olympic and world champion Park Joo-bong.
The Malaysians let slip a good chance to nick their first Super Series title in two years when they went down 21-19, 11-21, 19-21 to South Korea’s Yoo Yeon-seong-Shin Baek-cheol in the final on Sunday.
The Malaysians had beaten the more fancied Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun of South Korea in the opening round and pulled off another sensational win over Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the semi-finals.
Joo-bong, who is coaching Japan but is most likely to re-join Malaysia as the national coaching director next year, said that he can take plenty of positives from the duo’s performance.
“I saw better focus and concentration. In the match against Denmark, it was close but Koo and Tan did not buckle under pressure as they used to,” said Joo-bong. “It’s obvious that they showed a lot more motivation and did not give up easily. This change of attitude may be good for them but they must keep at it.”
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been struggling for the last two years with inconsistent displays. Their partnership was also in disarray because of coaching and communication problems.
Asked if Kien Keat-Boon Heong can be genuine contenders for a title at the World Championships next year, Joo-bong said: “It all depends on them. There are many new pairs trying to establish themselves and I see the quality of the men’s doubles further improving next year.”
In the Denmark Open, Yeon-seong-Baek-cheol played together for the first time and were one of the many who changed partners this season. Others included Yong-dae-Sung-hyun; Zhang Nan-Chai Biao of China; Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Alven Yulianto, Hendra Gunawan-Mohd Ahsan; and Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Jonas Rasmussen and Rasmus Bonde-Mads Conrad-Petersen.
“China’s Zhang Nan-Chai Biao have the potential to make it big. Yong-dae-Sung-hyun can only get better,” said Joo-bong.
World No. 6 Kien Keat-Boon Heong are likely to cross swords with Yong-dae-Sung-hyun in the quarter-finals of the French Open this week.