Sunday, 2 February 2014 | MYT 5:39 PM
Kien Keat-Boon Heong to learn fate by month-end
A file picture of Koo Kien Keat (right) and Tan Boon Heong. The pair reached the nadir of their career after crashing out of the opening round in the Malaysian Open in January 2014 prompting a directive to freeze them from playing pending an inquest.
KUALA LUMPUR: The future of Malaysia’s top men’s doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong hinges on the report of their fitness level.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) are awaiting a thorough report from experts at the National Sports Institute (NSI) on Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s physical condition.
BAM deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria said on Sunday that they would convene a special meeting to decide on the duo’s fate as soon as the report is out.
“We are in the midst of a fact-finding mission. The president (Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff) has met with the players and we are now getting feedbacks from their coaches,” said Norza.
“Once the report from NSI is in, we will have enough evidence to decide on their partnership. We will decide by this month,” said Norza, who was one of the few council members to question the pair’s under-par performance at the international stage.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong came under fire after going down in the opening round of the Malaysian Open last month, – and, with that, continuing their four-year Super Series title drought.
It sparked displeasure among the council members at a meeting last month and a directive was made to freeze them from competing in any tournaments until a decision is made on their future.
As a result, world No. 7 Kien Keat-Boon Heong were not entered for the German Open Grand Prix Gold (from Feb 25-March 2) and the All-England (from March 4-9) although they are the country’s No .1 pair.
In the absence of the 2007 All-England champions, Malaysia will be banking on world No. 8 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and reigning Malaysian Open champions Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem to win honours.
BAM have several options available in dealing with Kien Keat-Boon Heong.
They could either split or drop them. They can also use them as sparring partners to help raise the standard of the juniors. Another option would be to release them from the national body and allow them to venture on their own as independent shuttlers.
However, with the Thomas Cup Finals coming up in May, the experience of Kien Keat may come in handy. Kien Keat has played instrumental roles in the team event since making his debut at the 2004 Thomas Cup Finals in Indonesia.
However, if Kien Keat and Boon Heong are not committed to giving 100% in training, it will be pointless to keep them any longer.