KUALA LUMPUR: A usually jovial Rexy Mainaky was awfully quiet during the national men's doubles training session at Gymnasium II in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The Indonesian coach hardly spoke to the pairs, including the two who are gearing up for the Macau Open next week – Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Gan Teik Chai-Lin Woon Fui.
But the “cold treatment” from Rexy has only fired up Kien Keat to bring back the cheers to the team.
“The training used to be very lively but it is much quieter now. Probably, he (Rexy) is still upset with some of us (following a string of disappointing results),” said Kien Keat.
“But we will take this approach as a new challenge. We have to get on and concentrate on working hard in training. Hopefully, we will get back to our winning ways.”
The 22-year-old Kien Keat hoped that there would be support from all quarters even though they had come up short of expectations in the World Championships last month and in the recent Japan Open.
“It is when we are down that we need everyone to rally their support behind us. We hope the coaches, officials and our team-mates will be there to support one and another,” he said.
“Overall, I think the men's doubles have done quite well this year. Except for the Japan Open, we had at least one pair in the semi-finals in every other tournament. But, I guess, more is expected out of us.”
Kien Keat did not want to go into the details on a recent strained relationship with Boon Heong but said that they wished not to be distracted again on the road to their ultimate aim to win gold at the Beijing Olympics next year.
“There were problems but that is in the past. I now have more confidence in him,” he said.
“I thought it was a fluke when we won the gold medal at the Asian Games (in Doha last December). But we started winning more titles. We know that we were up there (among the best) but there was something lacking in our partnership.
“We are learning from our mistakes and hopefully, our partnership will grow stronger. We may go through ups and downs but our ultimate goal remains the same – to do well at the Olympics.”
In the Macau Open, Kien Keat-Boon Heong are the seeded seconds and they have in their quarter South Koreans Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae in their quarter.
“We have never played against them.
“If we get to play against them and win, it would mean having beaten all the top pairs in the world since we started out together last year (in October). That will be another motivation for us,” said Kien Keat.