KUALA LUMPUR: Have national men’s doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong lost their motivation to play?
All indicators point that way if their string of misfortunes are anything to go by.
On Thursday, Kien Keat suffered another blow in his bid to revive his flagging career. He had to request for time off from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) after the recurrence of an eye infection.
It now requires immediate laser treatment, which he hopes to get done on Monday.
This means, Kien Keat will miss a scheduled physical test, which is being planned by the National Sports Institute (NSI) next week.
World No. 7 Kien Keat and Boon Heong are already in troubled waters after losing in the opening round of the Malaysian Open last month at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The top national pair have also been grounded, which means they will miss the German Open Grand Prix Gold from Feb 25-March 2 and the All-England from March 4-9.
The BAM council is now contemplating whether to drop the duo or split them but they will only decide after the NSI submit a comprehensive report on the fitness of both players.
BAM also have the option of letting Kien Keat and Boon Heong go if they wish to become professional players or use them as sparring partners for juniors.
On Thursday, national coach Pang Cheh Chang confirmed that Kien Keat had been absent from training for the last two days.
“Kien Keat turned up on Thursday with a swollen eye. In December last year, he went for an eye surgery due to an infection and now, the same problem is back. He produced a letter from the doctor saying he needs laser treatment,” said Cheh Chang, after a training session at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
“Kien Keat had been using contact lenses after the surgery and somehow, it caused the infection. He is unable to join us for training for the time being.”
Without Kien Keat, Boon Heong will now partner Ow Yao Han during training.
Yao Han is also currently without his partner Teok Kok Siang, who suffered multiple fractures on his hand after a car accident on the eve of Chinese New Year. The unfortunate incident has ruled Kok Siang out for three months.
“There never seems to be an end to misfortune in the men’s doubles department but one must not lose heart,” said Cheh Chang.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will not be any more injuries.”
The other pairs currently under Cheh Chang are world No. 8 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, reigning Malaysian Open champions Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah and Teo Ee Yi-Chooi Kah Ming.
V Shem-Khim Wah and Thien How-Wee Kiong are preparing for the back-to-back Opens in Europe.