Tuesday March 19, 2013
Coach Paulus optimistic of getting Koo-Tan back to top form
KUALA LUMPUR: National doubles coach Paulus Firman still wore a smile on his face during a training session yesterday although his charges Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong suffered one of their worst outings in Europe recently.
World No. 2 Kien Keat-Boon Heong were booted out in the second round of the All-England by Thailand’s Maneepong Jongjit-Nipitphon Puangpuapech two weeks ago.
There was also a double disappointment for Kien Keat as he also lost out in his bid to join the Badminton World Federation (BWF)’s athletes commission.
Currently, the morale of the duo is low and public confidence in them is at the lowest and their prospect looks bleak ahead of the World Championships in Guangzhou in August. However, Paulus, has not lost hope on them.
Rather than accepting his task to turn Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s fortunes around as a huge burden, Paulus said that he relished the challenge to restore their confidence although time was against them.
“It is not a big burden but a challenge. I am not fearful but I am motivated to turn things around for Koo and Tan,” said the cool and collected Paulus.
Paulus, who has been in Malaysia for only two months, said the defeat at the All-England showed that Kien Keat-Boon Heong had been left behind and some of the younger pairs have stepped up.
He said China’s new crop of doubles players outshone everyone in Europe when Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan nailed the All-England title while Hong Wei-Shen Ye did well to win the German Open and Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold tournaments.
“In the past, we use to hear dominant men doubles pairs from South Korea, Denmark and Indonesia but now, China’s youngsters are taking centre stage purely because they have more speed and power,” he said.
Paulus is adding more physical training regimes in his programme to give the former All-England champions the edge again.
“We have evaluated the defeats of Koo and Tan and I am doing the necessary changes to toughen up their training programme.
“They will have to be physically stronger. The defeat is also a good self-evaluation for Koo and Tan as they saw it for themselves that the level of competition had changed,” he said.
Paulus’ plan to work closely with the duo, however, will have to wait as Kien Keat-Boon Heong have several tournaments lined up for them.
They will compete in the Axiata Cup in Surabaya from March 21-24 and the return leg in Kuala Lumpur from March 28-31.
They will be also competing in the Yonex Australian Open Grand Prix in Sydney from April 2-7 due to sponsor’s obligation.
Besides Kien Keat-Boon Heong, Paulus is also responsible for improving the standards on world No. 10 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Tan Wee Gieen.