KUALA LUMPUR: Doubles coach Rexy Mainaky wants shuttlers Lee Wan Wah-Choong Tan Fook and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong to treat all their rivals in the Beijing Olympics in China next month with respect.
The early rounds of the Olympic badminton competition should be a breeze, especially for the seeded players but Rexy does not want the two men’s doubles pairs to treat their opponents lightly.
Wan Wah-Tan Fook will be the only Malaysian men’s doubles pair to be seeded for the Olympics. They will make their third consecutive Olympic appearance together as the fourth seeds. Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who are ranked fifth in the world, will compete for the first time together.
“Whoever, they will meet, I want them to play every match like it is a final. Don’t just think that they can expect easy matches because their first round opponents are unknown players.
“Players who have qualified for the Olympics should not be taken lightly.
“It is better for them to start having this mindset. Our pairs have on previous occasions drop their guard when they play against lowly ranked pairs. They start to experiment around. Then they start to panic when their rivals start fighting back,” said the Indonesian former Olympic gold medallist.
The men’s doubles competition will have only 16 pairs and Rexy added it would be better for Wan Wah-Tan Fook and Kien Keat Boong to develop a killer’s instinct in Beijing.
“If possible, it would be better for them to finish off their opponents fast. They can save their energy and focus on the next matches,” he said.
With no competitions ahead, the next four weeks will be spent on maintaining the physical level and building the consistency of the Beijing-bound shuttlers.
“Physically, they are doing okay because they did not go for the last two Super Series meets.
“Now we are trying to focus on their consistency. I am also happy that Koo (Kien Keat) has made a fast recovery from his injuries and is able to train. The only worry is his agility, especially in making drop shots. But there is still time,” he said.
Kien Keat needed three weeks to recover from cuts on his right hand and leg after a glass panel he was leaning on gave way last month.
Malaysia came back empty-handed from the last two Olympic campaigns in 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens). All three medals won in the Olympics so far came from badminton.
The men’s doubles pair of Razif and Jalani Sidek earned the first medal when they took bronze in Barcelona in 1992. Malaysia came back with two medals in Atlanta four years later – a silver from men’s doubles pair Cheah Soon Kit-Yap Kim Hock and a bronze from Rashid Sidek.