BAM’S LATEST: Indonesian coach ready to help Kien Keat-Boon Heong recapture the form that use to worry their opponents
MANY have tried and failed since Rexy Mainaky but newly-hired coach Paulus Firman believes he can turn former Asian Games champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong into an effective combination.
Paulus, who represented Indonesia in mixed doubles in the 1990s, has been hired by the BA of Malaysia (BAM) on a two-year contract and the 44-year-old will officially start work on Friday.
The Bandung-born, formerly a coach with the Indonesia BA (PBSI), has been entrusted to coach three pairs — Kien Keat-Boon Heong, Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and the newly formed combination of Lufti Zaim Abdul Khalid-Tan Wee Gieen.
Paulus is keen to start work and his eagerness was best demonstrated yesterday when, upon his arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), he immediately left for the national training centre in Bukit Kiara to meet national doubles coach Tan Kim Her for a meeting.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who have not won a Super Series title since the 2010 Malaysian Open, will be Paulus’ prime focus as the World No 2 pair are at risk of being separated if they do not meet the targets set by BAM.
"It is a new challenge for me as I was only a women’s and mixed-doubles coach in Indonesia. But I do not see this as a problem. I believe in hard work as the key to success is the effort in training and competitions," said Paulus in Bukit Kiara yesterday.
"Teamwork is very important and everyone, players and shuttlers, must work hand-in-hand to ensure badminton here takes a few steps forward."
Paulus represented Indonesia in mixed-doubles between 1991-95 before accepting a coaching job in Penang where he worked briefly with Kim Her-Soo Beng Kiang for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Kim Her, the national doubles chief coach, made an unofficial coaching offer to Paulus last year.
"We have been friends for the last 17 years. He (Kim Her) is the reason I am here. Rexy and Hendrawan (national coach) also told me Malaysia was a good place to coach," said Paulus.
Paulus was embroiled in a controversy at the London Olympics last August when Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were among the eight women’s doubles shuttlers disqualified for "not using one’s best efforts to win a match".
"It is something that I do not want to talk about. I take it as a good lesson," he said.
On his plans for Kien Keat-Boon Heong, he said he has yet to meet the pair.
"They are one of the best pairs who have won prestigious titles. I will talk to them before looking at the best possible way to help them gain confidence and improve.
"I will need to analyse their game and see them in tournaments before the World Championships in August."
Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s target is to reach the final of the world meet on Aug 4-11, in Guangzhou.