BIRMINGHAM: Tan Boon Heong may not stay single for long after all.
Boon Heong, who turns 27 in September, was left in the cold following poor results with Koo Kien Keat, with a first round defeat in the Malaysian Open in January being his last tournament.
With Kien Keat’s resignation from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) last month, Boon Heong was left with no partner.
The BAM had entrusted the coaches with the the decision of who to pair with Boon Heong, and they have selected two-time world junior champion (2009-2010) Ow Yao Han.
The pair have been slotted for the Malaysian Open GP Gold from March 25-30 in Johor – their first tournament together as a pair.
Yao Han has also been without a partner since Teo Kok Siang was injured during a car accident in January, ruling him out for at least three months.
Boon Heong, the world junior champion in 2004, has already started training with Yao Han so they will not be out of shape as a pair when the tournament begins.
The move to pair up Boon Heong and Yao Han is also a logical one by national doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang, who is in charge of both shuttlers, given Boon Heong’s experience competing in the Thomas Cup since 2008 as well as winning the Asian Games gold medal with Kien Keat in 2007.
Indonesia have already shown that pairing a senior with a junior has the potential for success with Mohd Ahsan and the more experienced Hendra Setiawan going on to become world champions last year.
Even China are giving this mix-and-match strategy a go with four-time world champion Fu Haifeng paired up with several younger players since the World Championships in Guangzhou last year.
Boon Heong-Yao Han certainly look good on the cards, and only time will tell if they are given the chance to blossom into a proper partnership.
For now, Boon Heong will certainly rue the missed opportunity of competing in the All-England, which he last won in 2007.