Kien Keat-Boon Heong in race to qualify for world meet (pic)



PETALING JAYA: Asian Games men’s doubles champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will be out to make a big impact in the Malaysian Open Badminton Championships to keep alive their hopes to qualify for the World Championships.

In a hurry: Koo Kien Keat (front) and Tan Boon Heong are bent on making the cut for the World Championships.

The Malaysian Open, which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium from Jan 16-21, is the first leg of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Super Series.

The US,000 Open, however, is set to be the duo’s last major tournament before the qualification period for the world championships ends in April.

Malaysia will also host the world championships at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Aug 12-19.

We are not even ranked among the top 100. We are very lucky to get a chance to compete in the qualifying tournament of the Malaysian Open. We need to do well to earn as much world rankings points as possible, said Kien Keat.

Currently, the Kien Keat-Boon Heong are ranked at number 119.

Unlike the home tournament, we may not get to feature in the Korean Open (Jan 23-28) and the All-England (March 6-11), which are also part of the Super Series. Entries are limited, said Kien Keat.

Only the top 60 in the world rankings in the respective events get direct entries in the Super Series. The top 28 go into the main draw while four others will come from the qualifying rounds, which involve a maximum of 32 players.

Replacements are only allowed if those ranked among the top 60 decide not to compete.

It looks like we have to compete in many other small tournaments after the Malaysian Open to improve on our world rankings. Our coach (Rexy Mainaky) will announce our other assignments soon, said Kien Keat.

Besides the lack of major tournaments, Kien Keat said that it would also be challenging to qualify for the world championships as there were four other Malaysian pairs ranked ahead of them on the world list.

They are Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah (fourth), Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui (seventh), Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif (11th) and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock (31st).

Another pair who have yet to establish a world ranking are Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How.

A country can have a maximum of four pairs if all four are ranked among the top eight. Otherwise, it is only possible to have three pairs, said Kien Keat.

Boon Heong and I have to scramble for good results in the first quarter of the year. It will be hectic but we are ready for the challenges.

It is our hope to make the cut for the world meet for the first time as a pair.

Kien Keat, who was the Malaysian Open champion last year partnering Chong Ming, said that the battle in the home tournament would be as challenging as in the Doha Asiad last month.

All the top pairs have confirmed entries. The top pairs from Denmark will also be here while United States will be banking on their formidable Indonesia-born players Tony (Gunawan) and Candra (Wijaya), he said.

We also have to keep our eyes on our teammates. It will be great if we can reach at the least the quarter-finals or create one or two big upsets.

Denmark will be banking on Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen and Jonas Rasmussen-Lars Paaske.

The other prominent pairs from the rival camps are Markis Kido-Hendra Setiwan, Luluk Hadiyanto-Alven Yulianto (Ina); Anthony Clark-Rober Blair (Eng); Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor); Guo Zhengdong-Xie Zhongbo and the reigning world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn).

(source: TheStar Online)


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