The strong performances of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in the World Championships and the return to form of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif have raised early hopes on Malaysia’s ability to regain the Thomas Cup.
And national doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky hopes that both pairs would keep the fire going in them.
“I have seen the fire missing from these players. But at the World Championships, both pairs showed their desires to win,” he said.
“These are the signs that I have been looking for in them. It is not easy to keep the passion for the sport alive all the time but I hope that they will maintain it.”
Malaysia will be hosting the world men’s team championship Finals next year and will be looking forward to regaining the title they last won on home soil in 1992.
“Malaysia have two good pairs they can bank on to win points in the Thomas Cup Finals. We hope that they will not lose focus,” said Rexy.
In fact, Malaysia have a pool of doubles players with the potential to do well with several back-up pairs hoping to get the opportunity to feature in the Finals. Among them are Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Chan Peng Soon and Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock.
Rexy added that the World Championships also showed that three other countries — China, South Korea and Denmark — also have two reliable pairs to count on in the world team championship.
China’s reigning world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng are expected to be supported by Guo Zhengdong-Xu Chen, who showed promise in Hyderabad by reaching the quarter-finals.
For South Korea, Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung, who suffered the disappointment of losing in the World Championship final for the second consecutive time, will continue to be a tough pair to beat.
And the Koreans have Han Sang-hoon-Shin Baek-cheol to add depth to their ranks.
Denmark’s Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen and Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen may not have enjoyed a great run in Hyderabad but they are still formidable pairs.
The absence of Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan, who were winners in the previous championships, showed up Indonesia’s fragility in the men’s doubles. Both their back-up pairs — Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Rian Sukmawan and Bona Septano-Mohd Ahsan — failed to impress.
Rexy also pointed out that time was also on the Malaysians’ side with Kien Keat-Boon Heong being the youngest top pair in the world on combined age.
“The Malaysians have a long way to go and I hope that they will continue to move up without having to deal with distractions,” he said.