Badminton

Published: Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 6:27:00 PM
Updated: Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 10:33:45 PM

Enough with the doubles merry-go-round

Goh V Shem (left) will no longer partner Lim Khim Wah in men's doubles after the badminton World Championships. - BERNAMA

Goh V Shem (left) will no longer partner Lim Khim Wah in men's doubles after the badminton World Championships. - BERNAMA

STOP tinkering with the men’s doubles partnerships!

The changes are hampering the progress of Malaysia’s men doubles department on the world stage.

In the ongoing World Championships, three Malaysian pairs experienced different fortunes.

Malaysian Open champions Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem conceded a walkover in the second round, no thanks to a back injury to V Shem; Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong’s challenge ended in the third round; and national No. 1 pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong ran out of gas in the quarter-finals.

All three pairs will be split up after the world meet.

With the Olympic Games qualifying period set to begin next May, Malaysia will now be racing against time to establish new pairs in the world rankings.

The writings were already on the wall for the men’s doubles pairs before they went to Copenhagen.

The players did not train together although they knew that they had qualified for the world meet in April.

This is because the coaches had named new pairs for the Asian Games in Incheon and the focus was on the Asiad.

Some players were confused; some felt that they had been given a raw deal by not getting the partner they wanted; and some just lost focus.

As a result, the doubles department produced mediocre results in Copenhagen.

Even Japan chief coach Park Joo-bong was puzzled with all the planning, or rather the lack of it.

“Malaysia tried out scratch pairs in the Thomas Cup Finals (in May). That I can understand. Then, they had different players at the Commonwealth Games (in July), different pairs at the World Championships ... and now different pairs for the Asian Games?” he said.

“How are the players going to handle all these constant changes? For us, it is not easy to build even one pair. It takes time to groom them into a consistent pair.”

National doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang, who has been under pressure to form solid pairs for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, said he had no choice but to change.

Kien Keat’s decision to quit in March had complicated matters. Khim Wah’s problem with his service was another.

“I had to plan for the future. A lot of thought has been put into establishing these new pairs. It is just unfortunate that we’ve had so many major tournaments in between,” explained Cheh Chang.

“The partnerships for Asiad will be permanent. We hope they will grow from strength to strength.”

Based on the strong showing of the Korean, Indonesian and China pairs at the world meet in Copenhagen, it will take a miracle for Malaysia’s men’s doubles to dream of a medal in Incheon.

At the Asiad four years ago in Guangzhou, Boon Heong-Kien Keat lost in the final to Indonesians Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan.

Tags / Keywords: Badminton, Badminton World Championships, Copenhagen, Goh V Shem, Tan Wee Kiong, Tan Boon Heong, Lim Khim Wah

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