THE big names are not going to win the men’s doubles crown in the World Championships as former doubles ace Cheah Soon Kit expects Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan or one of China’s young pairs to create a shock in Guangzhou next week.
Soon Kit said Hendra-Mohammad have been going great guns in recent times while China’s All England champions Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan and Hong Wei-Shen Ye have also been impressive.
Hendra-Mohammad were paired off after Indonesia’s failure to win a medal in men’s doubles for the first time in the London Olympics last year and they have won the Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia Opens this year.
Soon Kit, a two-time silver medallist in the World Championships with different partners, added that the leading trio of World No 1 Ko Sung Hyun-Lee Yong Dae, China’s four-time champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng and Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark are set to have a difficult time in Guangzhou.
Soon Kit said the open affair in the men’s doubles should also give Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong some hope provided they are mentally strong and in good physical condition.
"It is going to be an open tournament but will favour the younger pairs. Hendra-Mohammad and the two young pairs from China will be the main contenders in the World Championships," said Soon Kit.
"Cai Yun-Haifeng have won the title many times and they can challenge the others if they have the hunger but Sung hyun-Yong Dae and Boe-Mogensen are not going to have it easy.
"Hendra-Mohammad have shown great progress, Xiaolong-Zihan are playing well while Hong Wei-Shen Ye can trouble any top pair at home.
"Having said that, I hope Kien Keat-Boon Heong can take advantage of the situation and push for the title. They have been given an ultimatum by the BA of Malaysia (BAM) but they must take this positively.
"Much will depend on how good their physical condition and mental strength are. The odds are against them to win but this is the time for them to fight back."
Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s path is clear until the last eight where they will meet one of two South Korean pairs — Shin Baek Cheol-Yoo Yeon Seong or Kim Ki Jung-Kim Sa Rang — who they have never beaten before.
They can look forward to saving their partnership if they can the final which remains the target they must achieve if they are to remain as a pair.