KUALA LUMPUR: No men’s doubles pair have won back-to-back Open titles this year.
And that, says Malaysian Koo Kien Keat, show how open the men’s doubles game has become ahead of the World Championships, which will be held in Hyderabad, India, from Aug 10-16.
In fact, only Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have won two titles in three months. They won the Swiss Open in March and followed it up with the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold last week.
The other winners of major Open tournaments this year – in either the Super Series or GP Gold – are Danes Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen (Malaysian Open), South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Shin Baek-cheol (German Open), China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (All-England), Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah (India Open), Indonesians Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan (Asian Badminton Championships), England’s Anthony Clark-Nathan Robertson (Singapore Open) and Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung (Indonesian Open).
Except for the ABC, the others are all Badminton World Federation (BWF) events. The ABC is the main event for Asians, hosted by Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC).
Kien Keat said the fight among the men’s doubles pairs had been so intense that it had become difficult to even predict the winners for the world meet.
“The race is so open that it is difficult to say who are the favourites. It’s anyone’s game depending on who strike form during the world meet,” said Kien Keat.
“Most of the top pairs are inconsistent. Even Yong-dae-Jae-sung can lose in the second round of a tournament (in Singapore) and then get it right in Indonesia.”
The format – the 21-point best-of-five rally scoring game – has indeed narrowed the gap among the players.
Kien Keat admitted that preparations in the next one month could make all the difference for the players.
And the Malaysian intends to give undivided attention to his game.
“This is the most crucial time for all of us. We know what to expect during the world meet. Everyone has a chance. We hope to work on our weak points during training and be ready for the world meet,” said Kien Keat, who won a bronze medal in the men’s doubles with Chan Chong Ming at the 2006 World Championships in Anaheim.
But after firing blanks with Boon Heong at the previous world meet in Kuala Lumpur, he is aiming to get it right this time.