KUALA LUMPUR: Men's doubles ace Tan Boon Heong still has a lot of fight left in him. With all the ups and downs of the rollercoaster career with Koo Kien Keat, the 26-year-old shuttler will start his new partnership with Ow Yao Han.
The pair will play their first game at Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold, which starts on Wednesday at Pasir Gudang. They have been registered for two Superseries events – the Indian Open (April 1-6) and Singapore Open (April 8-13).
Tan Boon Heong and Kien Keat had been criticized for their lackluster performance on the international stage for the last three years and BAM had considered split them up earlier.
Datuk Norza Zakaria (BAM deputy president) said on Monday that Boon Heong is still under scrutiny and that he should try to perform at his best, and not take his place in the national team for granted.
Norza would like Boon Heong would be to emulate former men’s doubles world champions Hendra Setiawan-Markis Kido of Indonesia where they were broke apart due to their poor performance after 2008 Beijing Olympic. Since then, Hendra has done well to guide his younger partner Mohd Ahsan to the world title last year and they are now the world No. 1.
At the same time, Markis Kido has regained his confidence in men's doubles with his young partner Gideon Markus Fernaldi, where they were able to nail their first international title at the French Open last year and are currently ranked 11th in the world.
Norza also said that “When Kien Keat resigned recently, BAM asked the coaches to pair him up with a younger partner and try to make the new partnership work”.
“Boon Heong is now playing with Yao Han(a two-time world junior champion). We only want Boon Heong to use his experience to guide his younger partner to greater success, like what we have seen how the senior Indonesian players achieved with their younger partners.”
Malaysian Open GP Gold poses a huge challenge for eighth seeds Boon Heong-Yao Han where they are in the same column as third seeds and All-England semi-finalists Markis-Gideon.
If they can defeat the Indonesians, they are going to take on defending champions and second seeds Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem in the semi-finals.
After Malaysia Open GP Gold, Boon Heong-Yao Han are going to have a tough first round battle against second seeds and former All-England champions Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the Indian Open in New Delhi.