Happier times: The pairing of Koo Kean Keat-Tan Boon Heong, seen here at the 2010 Thomas Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur, will finally come to an end when the Badminton Association of Malaysia decide to either split or drop them from the national team after seven years due to poor form in the past few years. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s curtains down for Malaysia’s top pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
On Saturday, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) council decided to stop the under-performing duo, who have been together for seven years, from going for any more tournaments.
A decision will be made later to either split or drop them from the national set-up.
BAM are disappointed with the world No. 6 ranked Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s performances in the ongoing Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium.
On Wednesday, the 2010 Malaysian Open winners crashed out in the opening round to China’s Chai Biao-Hong Wei – extending their agonising four-year Super Series title drought.
It is not the first time that Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s future as a pair has been cast in doubt. They were also on the verge of being dropped or split after the London Olympic Games in 2012 but were thrown a lifeline to play on.
When the 2006 Asian Games champions went out tamely in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Championships in Guangzhou, it looked like the last straw.
But BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff decided to give them another chance. And they blew it again.
Yesterday, Tengku Mahaleel said that their services were no longer needed and a review will be made soon.
“We kept them together and sent them for many tournaments because we wanted them to win points (world ranking points) in order to qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals (in May),” said Tengku Mahaleel.
“At that time, only (Lee) Chong Wei was winning points.
“Now, we have two other doubles pairs who have stepped up – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem.
“We have now qualified for the Thomas Cup Finals (although the Badminton World Federa- tion will only confirm the list in April).
“A committee, headed by Datuk Norza (Zakaria), will review their performances and psychological aspects before making the recommendations.
“They could be split and paired up with younger players. If the players refuse to part ways, they are likely to be dropped.”