KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s latest badminton darlings – the men’s doubles of Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem – have moved up three rungs to No. 14 in the world after their breakthrough performance in the Malaysian Open last week.
And, if they can maintain their performances in the next three months, they could even become the country’s top pair before the Thomas Cup Finals in May.
On Thursday, they were the only men’s pair to have shown an improvement in the world rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
The other two pairs – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong – remained at No. 7 and No. 8 respectively after losing in the opening round of the home tournament.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are expected to drop a few more rungs in the next few weeks and lose their No. 1 standing in the country following the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) decision to review their future.
The duo have been grounded from all tournaments until BAM decide whether to keep, split or drop them.
National coach Pang Cheh Chang said that he has named Khim Wah-V Shem for the German Open Grand Prix Gold from Feb 25-March 2 and the All-England from March 4-9.
The BWF will use the world rankings after these two European tournaments to determine the 12 teams for the Thomas Cup Finals. The teams will be given seedings based on the world rankings released on March 6.
Cheh Chang said that he is happy that Khim Wah-V Shem have shown the right attitude to prove that their partnership can be salvaged despite all the differences that they’ve had in the past.
Prior to their Malaysian Open victory, the duo had been split twice due to personal differences.
“These two players deserve all credit for their achievements in the Malaysian Open. The coaches and management made a decision to bring them back as a pair for the third time early this year. It would not have worked if they were not sincere in wanting to get it right,” said Cheh Chang.
“This shows that it all depends on how much the players want to be successful. They were willing to put their differences aside and give their partnership another shot ... and it worked.
“We hope that they will keep supporting each other on court. This is just one step towards greater things for them. There will be many challenges along the way, but I hope they will continue to be professional.”
On Kien Keat and Boon Heong’s fate, Cheh Chang said: “It all depends on BAM. I’ll leave it to them to decide. My only concern right now is to develop the right strategy for the Thomas Cup Finals.”
The team of coaches will surely want to have three good pairs so that they can keep their opponents guessing about their probable line-up.