LEE Chong Wei and top doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong were back to winning ways in the Macau Open but in all honesty, it’s nothing much to shout about.
Malaysian fans are used to seeing the national players achieve success on a regular basis in Super Series and grand prix events, so Macau was not that exciting.
Although it is good that Chong Wei, the World No 1, and Kien Keat-Boon Heong proved that their recent failure in the World Championships in Hyderabad didn’t have a psychological effect on them, it also shows that they can perform when the pressure is off as most of the big guns were missing in Macau. This mentality will probably ensure they remain in their comfort zones and fail to meet the high expectations and the mental test one encounters in the Olympics or World Championships.
It looks impressive to see Chong Wei winning his fifth international crown in eight months but a major title is still missing from his resume.
And winning the Macau Open could have a reverse effect on Chong Wei as he may not want to come out of his comfort zone and this could stop him from achieving his true potential the bigger tournaments like next year’s World Championships in Paris and beyond.
Where Kien Keat-Boon Heong are concerned, each an every one of their success only underlines the fact that they have been a wasted talent thus far and they too should start shooting for bigger titles.
While Chong Wei on his day can beat the best, the performances of Hafiz Hashim and Kuan Beng Hong, and the elite back-up shuttlers have been found wanting yet again. They have been with the national squad for more than three years and are still struggling to make a breakthrough, some have even lost to China’s junior players like Wang Zhengming and Gao Huan and this is a major cause for concern.
While recently hired Indonesian coach Hendrawan is known for turning average players into quality internationals, after being with the elite back-up shuttlers for a month, he knows he has his work cut out for him.
Hendrawan has to turn their fortunes around fast or start looking to younger talents like Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Zulfadli Zulkifli, Syawal Ismail and Misbun Ramdan Misbun instead of putting too much hope on the stagnant elite back-up shuttlers.
Players like Tan Chun Seang, Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng and Arif Latif have had numerous chances over the last two years and if they continue to fail, should be phased out to make way for the younger players before they too fall into a rut.