Saturday February 23, 2013
Kien Keat believes he is ready for glory at All-England
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Koo Kien Keat’s body is aching all over after a week of strenuous physical training since returning from his Chinese New Year celebration.
But the 27-year-old doubles shuttler is feeling good inside as he gets ready to battle with his partner Tan Boon Heong at the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10.
Although the draw is relatively easy, Kien Keat said that what mattered most was his own form and condition.
“I have been following proper training over the last few days. The focus has been on building my physical condition. My body is aching but I feel good,” said Kien Keat after a training session under Indonesian coach Paulus Firman at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
“I have been committed to catching up on my physical programme after the Chinese New Year. So far, all is going on fine. On court, I am working on displaying a more consistent performance.”
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, the 2007 All-England champions, are seeded second in the prestigious tournament. The duo are in the same half of the draw with three other seeded pairs – Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan (fourth), Hong Wei-Shen Ye of China (fifth) and Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ki-jung of South Korea (sixth).
They will play England’s Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis in the first round.
If all goes according to book, Kien Keat-Boon Heong may meet Hong Wei-Shen Ye in the quarter-finals. The Malaysians were surprisingly beaten by the Chinese pair in the second round of the All-England last year.
“This Chinese pair is ranked fifth in the world and we will not underestimate them. After the All-England loss, we beat them in the China League. If we are well prepared, we can take them on,” said Kien Keat
On the fast-rising world No. 6 Sa-rang-Ki-jung, Kien Keat said: “It’s more difficult to play against Sa-rang-Ki-jung compared to their more famous seniors Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun. Sa-rang-Ki-jung are very crafty.
“It’s quite uncomfortable playing against them at times. Against Yong-dae-Sung-hyun, it is all about fitness. We hope to do well.”
All the other heavyweights – Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, Yong-dae-Sung-hyun and Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia – are drawn in top half with top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark.
The All-England will also be a special event for another reason for Kien Keat. He is running for the chairman post of the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s athletes commission.
The voting will be held over two days during the German Open Grand Prix Gold in Mulheim from Feb 26-March 3 and another two days at the All-England.
“I was nominated by the BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) because I am one of the ‘veterans’. If I am selected, I hope to be the voice for all the athletes. Let’s see how it goes.”
If all goes well, it could be a double celebration for Kien Keat.