Rexy: Qualify for KL first (pic)

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K.M Boopathy

FORGET about qualifying for the Beijing Olympics for now.

What national doubles coach Rexy Mainaky wants Asian Games champions Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong to focus on is qualifying for the World Championships and then attempting to win it.

Both, said Rexy, wont be easy but this is what he expects the pair to do.

"It is going to be different for them now as the other pairs already know about them. In fact, they must be prepared for the top pairs they beat in the Asian Games to be seeking revenge, starting with the Malaysian Open (at the KLBA Stadium on Jan 16-21)," said Rexy in a telephone interview from Jakarta.

Rexy agreed qualifying for the world championships, to be held in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 12-19, will mean a hectic programme for Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How, another new pairing, but both have no choice but to work hard.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong are ranked World No 117 while Chong Ming-Thien How are unranked as they have not competed in an international tournament yet.

"Kien Keat and Boon Heong must work very hard for the next five months to qualify for the World Championships. They will play in at least 12 tournaments."

"They are one of our hopes to win a title at the World Championships but qualifying is not going to be easy. The players must be committed and have the hunger to go for another major title.

"The same goes to Chong Ming-Thien How who are in a more difficult position as they have yet to compete in an international tournament."

Rexy will return to Kuala Lumpur on Jan 5 and said that he will have a meeting with all the players before drawing specific programmes.

After the Malaysia Open, the other major tournaments Kien Keat-Boon Heong are expected to compete in are the Singapore Open on May 1-6 and the Indonesia Open on May 8-13.

They can only feature in the All-England (March 6-11) and Swiss Open (13-18) if they break into the top 60 by February, which looks to be a difficult task.

To improve their world ranking, both pairs will also play in a number of satellite tournaments.

Lin Woon Fui and Fairuzizuan Tazari are also being groomed for the World Championships while Gan Teik Chai-Zakry Latif and veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah are also battling for places in the tournament.

A maximum of three pairs can qualify for the World Championships if they are ranked in the top eight when the qualifying period ends in May.

At the moment, Tan Fook-Wan Wah are in a good position to make the cut based on their World No 4 ranking but winning the world title doesnt seem possible with this pair.

Woon Fui-Fairuzizuan, ranked World No 7, look to be better bets but Rexy knows that Malaysias real challengers will probably be Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Chong Ming-Thien How, provided they qualify.

(source: NST)

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