Badminton

Published: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 7:19:00 PM
Updated: Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 9:06:53 PM

Kien Keat could be Malaysia’s wildcard: Chong Wei

Ex-national doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat (left), seen here at the Malaysian GP Gold event last month, is now a member of a Thai professional badminton club. - Filepic

Ex-national doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat (left), seen here at the Malaysian GP Gold event last month, is now a member of a Thai professional badminton club. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat could be back for the Thomas Cup Finals challenge after all.

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei on Friday proposed to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to bring back Kien Keat to strengthen Malaysia’s weakened team for the Finals, which will be held in New Delhi from May 18-25.

The five doubles players already confirmed for the team event are Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Tan Boon Heong.

The coaches will choose either Chan Peng Soon or Ow Yao Han as the sixth player but the selection has to be endorsed by BAM’s council on May 3.

Kien Keat used to partner Boon Heong and they won several titles – including at the 2006 Asian Games and 2007 All-England – during their 7½-year stint.

The 29-year-old Kien Keat decided to leave BAM in March and turned professional by joining Granular – a Thailand badminton club based in Bangkok.

Chong Wei believes that Kien Keat’s inclusion would give the coaches more options and also keep their rivals guessing on Malaysia’s probable line-ups.

“I have shared this idea with the doubles coaches. I have also spoken to Kien Keat and he is okay about making a comeback. It all depends whether BAM are willing to let him,” said Chong Wei after a training session at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.

“The idea to bring back Koo is purely for tactical reasons. Malaysia may choose youngster Yao Han but he could end up being a non-playing member unless someone gets injured. Wouldn’t it be better to bring someone with experience and who can be used for tactical reasons?”

Chong Wei’s idea of bringing back Kien Keat is also due to the lack of strength in the men’s singles. The others in the fray for men’s singles are Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren and probably Goh Soon Huat.

Soon Huat won a selection trial for the fourth spot in the men’s singles but has to attend another one on Monday. He has to beat two others – former national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun and former world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkiffli – to confirm his seat.

Chong Wei hoped that Wei Feng and Daren will rise to the occasion. Wei Feng is nursing hip and thigh injuries while Daren suffered another first round loss in the ongoing Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Gimcheon, South Korea.

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