KUALA LUMPUR: The national badminton coaches will come out with their recommendations of players for the elite and back-up squads after this week’s Macau Open.
And the top men’s pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have a good chance to regain the confidence of the selectors by retaining the title in the championships, which begin today.
It is important for them to produce performances that will give coach Rexy Mainaky no reason to break up their two-year-old partnership.
After crashing out in the second round of the China Masters last week to upcoming Chinese pair Sun Junjie-Xu Chen, there has been a further drop of confidence on their ability to stamp their marks again on the world stage.
The Asian Games champions dominated the scene in 2007, winning the prestigious All-England and five other Open titles €” in Malaysia, Switzerland, Macau, the Philippines and Denmark.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) general manager, Kenny Goh, who had been appointed as the co-ordinator to finalise the coaching and training programmes towards the 2012 London Olympics, said there would be a meeting with the coaches after the Macau Open.
“The coaches will have to come out with their recommendations of players for the London Olympics. We will have a joint meeting with the NSC (National Sports Council) after that,” he said.
“Then, it will be up to the BAM coaching and training committee to endorse our proposed structure and squads.”
“Probably for some coaches, the performances of their players in the Macau Open will help them to make a decision on who they want to recommend or on who they want their players to partner with.”
In the absence of many top pairs, Kien Keat-Boon Heong should not face major problems to live up to their top billing.
They have in their half of the draw China’s He Hanbin-Shen He, Hong Kong’s Albertus Susanto Nyoto-Lok Kei Lo, Indonesians Fernando Kurniawan-Lingga Lie and two Malaysian back-up pairs, Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang and Lim Khim Wan-Chan Peng Soon.
The other half has second seeds Fang Chieh-min-Lee Sheng-mu of Taiwan, China’s Sun Junjie-Xu Chen and Malaysians Chan Chong Ming-Chew Choon Eng, Ng Kean Kok-Hong Chieng Hun, Goh Wei Shem-Ong Jien Guo and Chow Pak Chuu-Poh Chai Boon.
Malaysian shuttlers also hold top seedings in the men’s singles (Lee Chong Wei), women’s singles (Wong Mew Choo) and women’s doubles (Fong Chew Yen-Mooi Hing Yau).
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Mohd Hafiz Hashim is one of the several men’s singles players to withdraw from the tournament at the eleventh hour.
The others are Indonesian Simon Santoso and second seeded Chinese Bao Chunlai and compatriot Chen Jin.
Their withdrawal has made it easier for Chong Wei to win the title.
Mew Choo can also breathe easy following the withdrawals of second seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong, China’s Wang Yihan, Jiang Yanjiao and three Indonesians €” Maria Kristin Yulianti, Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Fransisca Ratnasari