KUALA LUMPUR: A gentle reminder from the top to buck up has further inspired four national doubles players to get their acts right in their preparation for the Beijing Olympics.
Koo Kien Keat, Tan Boon Heong, Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif had a casual meeting with the National Sports Council (NSC) director general, Datuk Zolkples Embong, at his office in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The four had performed below par in the recent World Championships and it did not go down well with the NSC.
The youngest of the four, Boon Heong, said: “He (Zolkples) was disappointed with the way I played. I told him I was nervous. He told me that the challenges would be greater in the Olympic and I gave him my word that I would work on my weaknesses.
“It was good that he took the time to talk to us. We were open to him.”
The next tournament for Boon Heong-Kien Keat is the Japan Open from Sept 11-16. The world number two pair will take on team-mates Ong Soon Hock-Tan Bin Shen in the opening round.
Fairuzizuan-Zakry will also feature in the eighth leg of the Super Series and they have pledged to overcome their inconsistency.
“We did well together in our first tournament as a pair. But after that, it has been downhill for us. Our worst performances was in the world championships,” said Zakry.
Fairuzizuan-Zakry, who made heads turn when they emerged as the Indonesian Open runners-up in May, went down tamely to China's Guo Zhengdong-Xie Zhongbo in the second round.
“There is a chance for us to qualify for the Olympics and we will take up the challenge seriously,” added Fairuzizuan.
Malaysia can have a maximum of three pairs in the Olympics if all three finish among the top four in the world rankings when the qualification period ends in May.
Said Zolkples:”My priority is for badminton because it is the sport with the potential to win medals in the Olympics.
“In fact, the NSC have accepted the BAM's decision to send second stringers to the SEA Games (in Korat in December) because we want the top players to concentrate on their preparation for the Beijing Olympics.
“We will take out the whip if there is failure in the Olympics.”
(source: The star online)