Thursday July 12, 2012
Kien Keat and Boon Heong have a tendency to spring surprises
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Write off men’s doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong’s chances at the London Olympic Games at your own peril.
On paper, Kien Keat-Boon Heong have as good a chance as the rest of the 16 qualifiers to win a gold medal in their second Olympic outing despite failing to get past the quarter-finals in Beijing four years ago.
All they need is “an extra dose of will power” during the competition, which will be held at the Wembley Arena from July 28-Aug 5.
They go into the Games knowing they have beaten all their opponents – except for the two relatively new pairings of Bodin Isara-Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand and Poland’s Adam Cwalina-Michal Logosz.
These two pairs only began playing together more than a year ago.
The Malaysians’ main rivals will be four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Chung Jae-sung and Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong and Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong surprised many by beating Cai Yun-Haifeng at last year’s All-England; pulled the rug from under Yong-dae-Jae-sung at the 2010 World Championships; and ended their losing streak against Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong at the Thomas Cup qualifying tournament in Macau in February.
It seems that they have a tendency to rise to the occasion when least expected.
National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her is hoping that Kien Keat-Boon Heong will shed their underdogs’ tag and rebound with strong performances in London.
“Koo-Tan have beaten every pair who will be in London. Of the 16 qualifiers, they have not played against only two.
“At this stage, the race for the men’s doubles gold is wide open,” said Kim Her yesterday.
“Yes, they have been struggling but I see positive changes in them in training. They are looking very determined.”
Kim Her said that although defending champions Cai Yun-Haifeng and Boe-Mogensen have been consistent this year, it was still difficult to pick them as the favourites.
“Everyone is putting extra efforts to win at the Olympic Games and it all depends on the players’ strong will and determination on match day.
“With a smaller number of quality qualifiers this time, this year’s competition will be interesting from the group stage onwards,” he said.
All the 16 qualifiers will be divided into four groups during the July 23 draw and Kien Keat-Boon Heong will be have one of these four seeded pairs – Cai Yun-Haifeng, Yong dae-Jae-sung, Boe-Mogensen and Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong – for company.
The top two pairs will advance to the elimination round.
Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong versus:
Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) – lost 9, won 4;
Lee Yong-dae-Chung Jae-sung (Kor) – lost 12, won 2;
Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) – lost 4, won 7;
Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) – lost 6, won 1;
Chai Biao-Guo Zhengdong (Chn) – lost 0, won 1;
Mohd Ahsan-Bona Septano (Ina) – lost 2, won 3;
Fang Chieh-min-Lee Sheng-mu (Tpe) – lost 1, won 1;
Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato (Jpn) – lost 0, won 3;
Bodin Isara-Jongjit Maneepong (Tha) – lost 0, won 0;
Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler (Ger) – lost 0, won 1;
Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov (Rus) – lost 0, won 2;
Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan (Ina) – lost 0, won 2;
Adam Cwalina-Michal Logosz (Pol) – lost 0, won 0;
Ross Smith-Glenn Warfe (Aus) – lost 0, won 1;
Dorian Lance James-Willem Viljoen (Rsa) – lost 0, won 1.