Wednesday August 8, 2012
Koo and Tan going separate ways after Olympic flop
By RAJES PAUL
SEPANG: Finally, Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong will end their seven-year partnership after returning home from the London Olympic Games empty-handed.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are resorting to this action following the pair’s failure to win a medal in the men’s doubles event at the London Olympic Games, said BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh said at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) yesterday.
Nadzmi flew home with the rest of the Malaysian badminton team, including Lee Chong Wei who did the nation proud by showing great fighting spirit before going down to China’s Lin Dan in the men’s singles final on Sunday.
Nadzmi said that BAM are looking at pairing up Kien Keat and Boon Heong with younger shuttlers in a bid to provide them with a new challenge to take their game to greater heights.
In London, Kien Keat-Boon Heong endured a rollercoaster ride before losing 21-23, 10-21 to Lee Yong-dae-Chung Jae-sung of South Korea in the bronze medal playoff.
Prior to that, they had lost to Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China in the semi-finals.
They did not beat any pairs ranked higher them at the Games – although both showed improved performances compared to their last eight finish at the Beijing Games four years ago.
It was a disappointing outing considering that Malaysia had high hopes on the duo, who once dominated the world badminton scene after announcing their entrance into the big league in 2006 – by winning the Doha Asian Games gold medal.
After winning a few other Open titles, including the 2007 All-England, the duo’s form began to drop in 2010.
Nadzmi did not mince his words when he described Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s Olympic assignment a failure.
“Yes, they did better than the Beijing Games by reaching the semi-finals but it looks as though that they have reached their peak. Their game has stagnated and I can’t see them going any higher,” said Nadzmi.
“The coaches are disappointed with their performances. At times, these players showed a lack of understanding in London. It is obvious they could not do better than what they did in London.
“Hopefully by pairing them up with younger players will help them to perform better. This will give them a challenge to revive their aspiration and allow them to hit a new peak in their careers.
“All these will be discussed at length during the next coaching and training committee meeting. It is time to re-look their partnership.”
Nadzmi, however, was full of praise for Chong Wei.
“He is truly a character of his own. He was exceptionally good and did well to put pressure on Lin Dan but luck was on his side towards the end. He is a fighter and I am not surprised that he was won the admiration of the nation,” said Nadzmi.
“Injury did not dampen his spirit ... it renewed the spirit in him. He changed his game style and did the right things to unsettle Lin Dan. There was a mark of maturity in his game and we are proud of his achievement.”
Nadzmi agreed that BAM would give greater focus on raising a new batch of players.
“It will not be easy but we are ready to get cracking. Our team will re-look the training and coaching programme. New plans are in store and we will begin our four-year cycle for the next Olympic Games soon. We are aware of the need to groom new stars. This will be our focus,” he said.