All gone flat for Koo-Tan


PETALING JAYA: National number one Tan Boon Heong-Koo Kien Keat took the world by storm when they made their entry into the world badminton circuit just over a year ago.

With their opponents having a better knowledge of their style of play and getting to deal with them effectively, it has now all gone flat for the flamboyant pair. 

Is there all to Boon Heong-Kien Keat, a pair touted as strong contenders to win the first Olympic gold medal for Malaysia in Beijing in August? National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky does not think so.  

He believes that the duo would end their woeful start to the season by raising their game a notch higher in the Swiss Open, which begins tomorrow in Basel. 

“It is the Olympic year and they know that they need to start picking up in their game. A good showing in Basel will certainly be good for their morale,” said Rexy. 

“I have tried so many ways to get them back on the winning trail just like how it was for them at the start of last year. They have the skills and techniques. The key to their success is all in their hands. It all depends on how badly they want to make it happen for them.” 

The world number three failed in the defence of the title in their last two tournaments. 

They crashed out in the second round of the Malaysian Open to Denmark's Lars Passke-Jonas Rasmussen and were first-round casualties in the All-England last week, losing to Japanese Shuici Sakamoto-Shinatro Ikeda. 

They are defending champions too at the Swiss Open and Rexy hopes that they will not suffer the heartbreak of failure for the third time. 

Despite their big blows suffered in recent tournaments, Boon Heong-Kien Keat are still Malaysia's best bets for honours in the Olympics. Veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah, who were semi-finalists at the All-England, are the other pair in the fray but they are bugged by the problem of poor finishing power. 

From the performances in the All-England, Koreans Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae and Hwang Ji-man-Lee Jae-jin and Japanese Shuichi-Shinataro are the big threats to the Malaysians in the Swiss Open. 

Jae-sung-Yong-dae defeated compatriots Ji-man-Jae-jin to win the All-England final on Sunday. 

Third seeds Boon Heong-Kien Keat, who will take on Poles Michal Logosz-Robert Mateusiak in the first round tomorrow, are in the same half of the draw as All-England semi-finalists Shuichi-Shintaro, Ji-man-Jae-jin; second seeds Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesians; the American-Indonesian combination of Tony Gunawan-Candra Wijaya; and two other Malaysians – Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif and Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock. 

Tan Fook-Wan Wah will take on team-mates Gan Teik Chai-Lin Woon Fui in the opening round and the winners are expected to play against Rasmussen-Paaske in the second round. In the same half of their draw are top seeds Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China and Jae-sung-Yong-dae.


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