Kuala Lumpur: After leaving the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in December 2007, former men’s doubles ace Cheah Soon Kit was clearly excited to be back in the BAM fold. Cheah rejoined BAM as Malaysia’s men’s doubles coach on Monday, and has vowed to improve Malaysian men’s doubles rankings to world’s top 8 before the end of Olympic qualifying period in May next year.
According to the Olympic qualification regulations set by Badminton World Federation (BWF), each country can field two pairs if they are ranked in the top 8 in doubles (with 16 pairs each in men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events).
Currently, world No. 15 Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong are the highest ranked Malaysian pair in the BWF rankings, followed by world No. 17 Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong. Both pairs will have to make it to world’s top 8 in order to avoid a potentially tough Olympic draw.
“Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong have proven they’re among the best, and I hope I could bring my experience to help them achieve better results. First and foremost, they need to correct their weaknesses in order to remain competitive and effective. I will assess their performance for one month and then come up with the right plan to make sure they are at top condition,” said Soon Kit.
“I want V Shem/Wee Kiong to focus on improving their world rankings, at least to make it to the top 8, or even to the top 4,” added Soon Kit.
Cheah also set the tone straight on his very first day as the doubles’ coach, he said that what is important is to be able to show their desire to win in every game.
Cheah Soon Kit, who won a silver medal with Yap Kim Hock at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, also wanted the players to develop their mental toughness so that they can achieve their full athletic potential.