Thursday, 27 March 2014 | MYT 8:02 PM
Boon Heong finds new lease of life with Yao Han
Tan Boon Heong (right) and Ow Yao Han on their way to beating Hardianto Hardianto-Agripinna Prima Rahmanto Putra of Indonesia 28-26, 21-13 in the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold.
PASIR GUDANG: Lanky Tan Boon Heong was distraught when his former partner Koo Kien Keat quit the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) recently and even flirted with the idea of leaving.
But fortunately, the 27-year-old Boon Heong decided to give his career another shot by partnering two-time world junior champion Ow Yao Han.
On Thursday, Boon Heong-Yao Han, making their first international debut, did reasonably well to keep alive their challenge in the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Stadium by reaching the quarter-finals.
The duo, however, were made to slog for a 28-26, 21-13 win over Hardianto Hardianto-Agripinna Prima Rahmanto Putra of Indonesia in a 43-minute match.
They have set up a mouth-watering match against Indonesia’s successful senior-junior combination of Markis Kido-Gidoen Markus Fernaldi for a place in the semi-finals.
“Honestly, I was out of focus when Kien Keat resigned,” admitted Boon Heong.
“I did not know whether I could go on. Then, the coaches asked me to play with Yao Han in three international tournaments (the ongoing Malaysia Open GP, India and Singapore Superseries). I decided to give it a try and at least, help and guide a young player,” he said.
On Thursday, Boon Heong did his part to calm a nervous Yao Han from cracking under pressure in an intense match.
Said the 23-year-old Yao Han: “I really got nervous towards the end. I really wanted to win and make this partnership work but I kept making mistakes. Fortunately, Boon Heong stayed calm and even tried to cover for me. That really helped. I hope to give a better showing in the quarter-finals.”
Defending champions Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem also came through the second round but not before surviving a scare against their younger team-mates Chooi Kah Ming-Teo Ee Yi.
Khim Wah-V Shem, who prevailed to win the match 21-18, 15-21, 21-11, will next take on Alwin Francis-Arun Vishnu of India.
Khim Wah gave due credit to Kah Ming-Ee Yi for their fighting display.
“They played well and totally broke our game apart in the second game. Fortunately, we got our act together. On paper, we have a good chance to win our quarter-final match but we do not want to make the mistake of underestimating anyone.”
If both Malaysian pairs win, they will take on each other in the semi-finals, thus assuring a spot for Malaysia in the men’s doubles final.