KUALA LUMPUR: There was no one-week holiday for the men’s doubles players after the World Championships. They resumed training as early as 6.30am on Monday but Koo Kien Keat and his team-mates are taking it all in their strides.
“The coach (Rexy Mainaky) is very annoyed with our performances in the World Championships. We were looking forward to a holiday but he has cancelled it. Now we have to train three times daily instead of two,” said Kien Keat.
“We will have two sessions in the morning (6.30-8.30am and 9.30am-12noon) followed by an afternoon workout (3.30-5.30pm). We almost collapsed after the first day’s sessions.
“But nothing is too tough for me. I have always worked and trained hard. The other players and I will get used to the routine. The coach is pushing us hard and it is all for our own good.”
On their failure in the World Championships, the 22-year-old Kien Keat said it had showed up their lack of experience in handling the situation at the crucial stage.
Kien Keat and his partner, Boon Heong, were the second seeds and were eliminated by Japan’s Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda in the quarter-finals.
Instead of wallowing in self pity over the defeat, Kien Keat said that they would look at the failure to win a medal from the positive side.
“No one is to be blamed. Winning and losing are part of the game. But what is more important is to learn from the mistakes and not repeat them,” he said. “Like everyone else, Boon Heong and I wanted to win the title. The defeat will remind us to strive harder.”
After winning three legs of the Super Series – in Malaysia, England and Switzerland – the relatively new pair in the world arena have now shifted their sights for glory in the Super Series Masters Finals, scheduled for Dec 18-23. The venue of the Finals has not been finalised yet.
The duo will compete in the Japan Open (Sept 11-16), which is the eighth stop of the 12-leg series. Incidentally, the Japan Open last October was their first international tournament together as a pair and they finished as runners-up.
“We will bounce back with a good showing in Tokyo. Ultimately our target for the year is to make the cut and win honours in the Super Series Finals,” said Kien Keat, who with Boon Heong also won the Asian Games gold medal last December and the Philippines Open last month.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are now in second place in the Super Series standings behind China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng. The top eight pairs qualify for the Finals.