KUALA LUMPUR: All-England men's doubles champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will aim to win their fourth international title of the year in the Asian Badminton Championships (ABC), which will be played in Johor Baru next week.
Despite not being in the best of condition after resuming training last week, they are still seen as the favourites to win the title. The duo are now ranked ninth in the world and success in Johor Baru would push them up among the top eight in the list.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong have sealed their place on merit for the World Championships, which will be held at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Aug 13-19.
|No pressure: Koo Kien Keat (left) and Tan Boon Heong will now plot their strategy for the Asian Badminton Championships to be held in Johor Baru next week. |
The ABC will be the last tournament offering ranking points before the entries for the world championships are finalised. Only the top eight pairs will be seeded and Kien Keat-Boon Heong would definitely want to be one of them.
All the top doubles pairs from China, Indonesia and South Korea are absent from the ABC, including world number one Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun and world number three Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung.
However, Malaysia will be out in full force. Kien Keat-Boon Heong are the second seeds and their teammates in the half of the draw are Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock, Lin Woon Fui-Gan Teik Chai and Hong Chieng Hun-Chew Choon Eng.
Veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah are the top seeds and defending champions.
Kien Keat said that they certainly cannot afford to take their teammates lightly.
We train together all the while and it is never easy when you play against your teammates, he said.
We will try our best to produce another good run.
We should get among the top eight in the world rankings if we can win this title.
At the same time, we do not want to put too much pressure on ourselves.
My condition is not that good yet because we have only started training last week. I am at 80% of what I was in Europe.
After winning the All-England last month, Kien Keat-Boon Heong went on to take the Swiss Open title as well.
Kien Keat-Boon have gone on an amazing run since they were paired up last October for a runners-up finish in the Japan Open.
They won the first gold medal for Malaysia in Asian Games badminton in 36 years in Doha last December and the following month emerged as the champions of the first round of the inaugural Super Series the Malaysian Open.
(source: The Star Online)