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Tuesday January 22, 2013

Doubles pairs show promise but need to be pushed to the limit

Malaysia’s Goh V Shem (right) and Lim Khim Wah lost in the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra stadium in Bukit Jalil which ended on sunday. Malaysia’s Goh V Shem (right) and Lim Khim Wah lost in the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra stadium in Bukit Jalil which ended on sunday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The recently-concluded Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil showed that four men’s doubles pairs are worth the investment but their progress need to be fast tracked.

They are Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem, Hoon Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Chooi Kah Ming-Ow Yao Han and Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Teo Ee Yi but all four pairs need a greater push this year to come out of their comfort zones.

At the Malaysian Open, V Shem-Khim Wah were the top performers. They reached the semi-finals while the others crashed out in the early rounds. Despite the defeats, all showed promise but lacked the fire in their bellies.

World No. 9 Thien How-Wee Kiong have qualified for the World Championships in Guangzhou in August. World No. 30 Khim Wah-V Shem are likely to join them as they are set to break into the top 20 list in the latest ranking list on Thursday.

It is time for the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to stop treating them as mere back-up players. Fresh challenges should be thrown at them.

Former world junior champions Kah Ming-Yao Han and Wei Keat-Ee Yi should also be given every opportunity to compete. The inexperienced Wei Keat-Ee Yi showed their hunger when they fought fearlessly against Indonesians Markis Kido-Alven Yulianto before going down in in the rubber game.

National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her admitted that it was time for the second stringers to step up.

“I am happy that Khim Wah-V Shem have shown their commitment to get their partnership going again. They went separate ways for six months but their performances in the Malaysian Open showed that they have mended their ways,” said Kim Her.

“They need to improve on the tactical part of the game. I do not expect them to hit a high immediately in the Super Series but I want them to start winning the Grand Prix Gold titles.

“The same goes to Thien How and Wee Kiong. We will push them in training so that they can be more consistent.

“The men’s doubles players have not won a major title for a long time and we hope to arrest this problem.”

The over-dependence on Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong has resulted in Malaysia suffering a three-year slump without a single Super Series title.

Since their victory at the 2010 Malaysian Open, Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been bugged by poor form and injuries. But there have been some positive changes in them though since losing the bronze medal play-off at last year’s London Olympic Games and hopes are high on them to get it right at the All-England in March and the World Championships.

The challenge for honours in men’s doubles is tougher compared to the men’s singles. There are a number of pairs capable of winning titles like Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China, Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen, South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun and Hendra Setiawan-Mohd Ahsan of Indonesia.

With Indonesia’s Paulus Firman jumping on board as the latest foreign coach in the BAM fold, Kim Her will have another able hand to fast track the progress in the men’s doubles department. The talents are there but they just need proper guidance and a firm hand.

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