Glorious homecoming for badminton heroes (pic)


About 500 people, including the Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said and Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, turned up to greet the duo, who did Malaysia very proud by winning the prestigious All-England title and also the Swiss Open crown.

Heroes welcome: The Bukit Jalil Sports School students unveil a large banner to welcome home Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong at the KL International Airport yesterday. S.S. KANESAN and KAMARUL ARIFFIN

The two titles took their tally to four in just six international tournaments together since they forged the partnership last October. They were also the champions in the Asian Games in Doha last December and in the Malaysian Open the following month.

Heroes welcome: Koo with (from left) his mother Tan Pow Chean and father Koo Chiew Wah and Tan with his father Tan Yoon Min (right) after the national heroes touchdown at KLIA last night.

Koon and Tan joined here with Youth and Sports Minister Azalina on arrival at KLIA. – 21 March, 2007

Members of public mob the players upon arrival at KLIA. – 21 March, 2007

Crowd… at the arrival hall of KLIA – 21 March, 2007

Koo and Tan with Azalina on arrival at KLIA. – 21 March, 2007

Koo and Tan acknowledge the cheers from the crowd. – 21 March, 2007

The fans came with several banners and one of them read: Welcome Home Our Heroes. The duo were greeted by loud cheers as they stepped out onto the hall.

Their family members came with bouquets of flowers and balloons and they hardly had time to embrace each other as the fans mobbed the new superstars of Malaysian sports.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong also acknowledged the support from the juniors of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), who had turned up at the airport four hours earlier to greet their role models.

Several youth groups from the political parties of Umno, MCA, MIC and even PPP, joined the welcoming party and some took the opportunity to take photographs with the champions.

Said Kien Keats father, Chiew Wah: There are so many people here, even the minister. The atmosphere is different from when they returned home after winning the Asian Games gold medal. I did not have the opportunity to say much to my son. But I am truly very proud of his achievements.

Both Kien Keat and Boon Heong were pleasantly surprised to see the big turnout at the airport.

If this is the treatment that I will get for winning titles, I will be out to win more. This is really heart-warming. I just want to say a big thank you to all our supporters, said Kien Keat.

I will keep my promise and go bald within the week.

In jest, he added: With a bald head, maybe I will be an unknown for a while.

Said Boon Heong: This is all new to me. So many people are here. But after this celebration and a one-week break, it will be back to hard work. We have other major tournaments to think about.

While relishing the moment, national doubles coach Rexy Mainaky called on everyone to take good care of Kien Keat-Boon Heong.

We have diamonds here. Let us all take care of them. Do not praise them too much. Hopefully, there will be less distraction. More work needs to be done.

The welcoming party ended an hour after they stepped out to meet their supporters at the arrival hall at about 11.45pm.

(source: The Star Online)


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