THE BA of Malaysia’s (BAM) tolerance level has no bounds when it comes to men’s doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and their embarrassing defeat in the Malaysia Open grand prix gold is not going to affect their future in any way.
BAM had already thrown a lifeline to Kien Keat-Boon Heong last September by giving them until the World Championships in Guangzhou on Aug 5-11 to prove their worth and also gave them a rather unusual target — at least a place in the final — despite recommendations from the coaching and training committee that they be split.
It was the BAM executive council which decided to give them a lengthy extension although there were plans to combine Boon Heong with Goh V Shem, while Kien Keat was to be paired with either Lim Khim Wah or another player.
BAM’s apprehension in making that move now has it ruing as Kien Keat-Boon Heong have reached a point of no return.
BAM’s habit of emphasising on short term goals has returned to haunt it again and with the World Championships just three months away, the best thing it can do is put more emphasis on Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s conquerors V Shem-Khim Wah as they appear to have some stomach to produce better results.
If only Kien Keat could perform the way he does during post match interviews, he would still be a great asset to the national team but his physical condition and that of Boon Heong’s are totally opposite.
While Boon Heong still has some hope to deliver with a younger partner, Kien Keat is so sluggish on court that he is struggling to keep with even the pace set by the other Malaysian pairs.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have nothing more to offer and the only reason they are being kept together is because of their reputation but it is about time they are sincere about their own performance and stop living in denial.
The coaching and training committee has already given the greenlight for the duo to undergo a new programme, which they will start tomorrow, and senior pairs V Shem-Khim Wah and Tan Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How as well as selected back-up pairs will be utilised to spar with Kien Keat-Boon Heong.
Another major failure in Guangzhou is not going to hurt BAM as it is used to such situations and it will be no surprise if Kien Keat-Boon Heong are given another extension.
As for the singles, seniors Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng are still struggling to find their feet despite being around on the international stage for more than six years, but there was some hope in the form of Goh Soon Huat and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin.
Soon Huat fell in the final while Iskandar reached the semis, their best achievements in a grand prix event, and coach Hendrawan may have some quality material to work with after losing his best potential player, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, in January.
However, it is still early days as it doesn’t take long for Malaysian shuttlers to become complacent and Hendrawan must put them in a strict regime and instill high level of discipline and commitment in searching for greater glory.