Koo Kien Keat (front) and doubles partner Tan Boon Heong seen here in a Filepic after they lost a match in the Sudirman mixed team championship last year.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former badminton great Datuk Tan Yee Khan feels that it’s time to let men’s doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat go.
Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong’s future as a pair is under scrutiny following their first round defeat in the Malaysian Open in January.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have put them in cold storage until a decision is made whether to keep them as a pair or split them up. The other options are to let them turn professionals or use them as sparring partners.
Since the national team resumed training after the Chinese New Year, only Boon Heong has been back in action. Kien Keat turned up for just a day to inform the BAM management that he would be on leave after deciding to go for an eye treatment, which he underwent last Monday.
Thomas Cupper Yee Khan feels that Kien Keat is no longer motivated in pursing his career.
“I will not be surprised if he chooses not to come back at all. Perhaps, it is time to let Kien Keat go. He has served the country well but is struggling now. I see no point in keeping a player if he is not motivated,” said Yee Khan.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong got off to a brilliant start in 2006 when they won the Asian Games gold in Doha and went on to enjoy a six-month unbeaten run in 2007, during which time they won the All-England title.
But they have not won any major tournaments after bagging the 2010 Malaysian Open title.
Asked if Kien Keat should be kept until the Thomas Cup Finals in May, Yee Khan was apprehensive, although the 29-year-old shuttler has a knack for rising to the occasion in team events.
“What then after the Thomas Cup Finals for Kien Keat? Are they going to use Kien Keat until the team event and then drop him ... how would he feel? I think that’s not fair to him ... or any other player for that matter,” said Yee Khan.
“I believe that a break from the sport will do Kien Keat good. He has an option to turn professional ... maybe that’ll bring back his motivation.”
Yee Khan, a two-time All-England men’s doubles champion with Ng Boon Bee, prefers BAM to focus on the newer batch of players and he was happy to see Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem win the Malaysian Open last month.
Yee Khan, who has been closely following the development in BAM, feels that a local should be given the mandate to become the coaching director in the national team.
Currently, there is no coaching director.
“We cannot just put anyone to handle the players and coaches. Look at China, Indonesia, South Korea and Denmark, they are all banking on their locals to handle their teams. Why do we even need to seek foreign help?
“I believe that a local can do it well. Just try paying them well.
“I cannot imagine someone who does not have any background in the sport as a player or a coach being given the responsibility to handle the team. That is absurd. An administrator cannot be a coach or try to be a coach. BAM must choose someone with credentials.
“And please don’t give to someone who had been given the responsibility before but failed to do his job well,” said Yee Khan, who was the national chief coach once during the 1980s.