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Tuesday October 2, 2012

Kien Keat stays Koo-l as harsh criticism mounts

KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat is taking all the harsh criticism in his stride as he seeks to redeem his partnership with Tan Boon Heong.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have given the duo another year to prove themselves after their failure to win a medal at the London Olympics in August despite calls to split them up.

In their first tournament at the Japan Open last week following BAM’s reprieve, Kien Keat-Boon Heong failed to salvage their pride when they lost to a lower-ranked Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ki-jung of South Korea in the final.

The 27-year-old Kien Keat said he accepted the fact that life was hard when one fell from grace but vowed not to give up.

“The Japan Open was our first tournament after the London Olympics. We were ill-prepared as our future as a pair was uncertain earlier. But despite that, we still reached the final,” said Kien Keat after a training session at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

Their first final appearance in a Super Series event in a year saw them moving up one rung to No.6 in the world rankings.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who won the hearts of Malaysians with their sterling displays en route to the 2006 Asian Games gold and the 2007 All-England title, had been struggling with inconsistent results over the last two years.

“I now understand the life of a badminton player.

“People sing our praises when we are on top and treat us like God’s son.

“But when we lose, no one treats us well,” lamented Kien Keat.

“I accept the criticism although some had been baseless. It’s pointless to get worked up over it.

“All I want to do now is give my best with Boon Heong.

“The experiences over the last few months have taught me one thing – to appreciate my partnership with Boon Heong.

“We have been given a second chance and we want to make the most of it.”

Kien Keat said their next big test will come at the Denmark Open in Odense from Oct 15-21.

“We will be more prepared for this tournament. All the top players will be there and it’s a good platform to see where we stand.”

Besides China’s four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng, who skipped the Japan Open, Kien Keat-Boon Heong will also have to be wary of Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Denmark), Shen Ye-Hong Wei (China), Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia), Shin Baek-cheol-Yoo Yeon-seong and Sa-rang-Ki-jung (South Korea).

National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her said he had decided against pairing Kien Keat and Boon Heong with younger partners.

“Let’s give them some peace of mind. It would be confusing for them to partner different players.

“Let them focus on their game and do their best to win titles again,” said Kim Her.

Earlier, there were plans to partner Boon Heong with Goh V Shem and Kien Keat with Lim Khim Wah in Grand Prix tournaments – to give them the role of ‘big brothers’ guiding the younger players.

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