Friday February 8, 2013
We hold the key to success, admits Kien Keat
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: Doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong are grateful for the one-month interruption-free solid training ahead of the All-England in Birmingham from March 5-10.
“There have been so many things going in the past and it felt good to have had a longer practice time,” said Kien Keat after a training session at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
The duo have not competed in any tournament since pulling out from the second round of the Malaysian Open after Boon Heong fell ill.
Things have calmed down for the national No. 1 pair after a turbulent 2012 – the year that saw them let slip a bronze medal at the London Olympic Games.
They have achieved better results over the last few months – their world ranking has improved and they’ve been assigned a new coach in Indonesian Paulus Firman.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been training under Paulus since Feb 1, although the coach is only expected to work full-time with them after the Chinese New Year holidays.
The pair had trained under three other coaches previously – Rexy Mainaky, Pang Cheh Chang and Tan Kim Her.
“We’ve gone through many coaches ... all beyond our control. They keep changing coaches and it’s a challenge for us to adapt to a new coach every time after,” said Kien Keat.
Kien Keat, however, was quick to add that “we have bigger roles to play than the coaches in determining the success and failure of our partnership”.
“It helps when we can trust and work well with our coach. We want a coach who can communicate with us and guide us. But, at the end of the day, it all depends on us. We know that,” he said.
“We are beginning to enjoy the game again and that’s a good sign.”
The Ipoh-born Kien Keat said that they were taking the challenge thrown by BAM to keep their partnership alive seriously.
The BAM had given them a year to prove themselves by reaching at least the final of the World Championships in Guangzhou in August.
“We have realised a lot of things over the past few months ... and we have ironed out our weaknesses. We’re still working on improving our game. The most important thing is that Boon Heong and I are enjoying the game,” said Kien Keat, who reached the world meet final in 2011.
As for the All-England, Kien Keat-Boon Heong, winners in 2007 and finalists in 2011, admitted that competition would be stiff this time.
It will be indeed, with the presence of two-time Olympic champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun, Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan-Mohd Ahsan and their own team-mates – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem.