Boon Heong-Kien Keat back for one final hurrah

Filepic of former national doubles pair Koo Kien Keat (left) and Tan Boon Heong at the World Championships in China in 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: They just can’t stay apart, can they?

Former national doubles pair Tan Boon Heong-Koo Kien Keat are back together – for another shot at badminton glory.

The 27-year-old Boon Heong announced on Friday that he would resume his partnership with Kien Keat, with their first tournament being the Australian Open Superseries from May 26-31.

Boon Heong quit the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) this year while Kien Keat left last year to join Thai-based professional club Granular as player-cum-coach. But the move did not work out.

The duo had played together for seven-and-a-half years and did well to win several titles – including the 2006 Asian Games gold medal and the 2007 Malaysian Open.

They also came close to winning a world title before losing in the final to Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng at the 2010 World Championships in Paris.

They came under fire after failing to win any medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, with many claiming that their game had stagnated and that they had nothing more to offer as a pair.

But this latest piece of news could not have come at a better time – just when Malaysia’s men’s doubles shuttlers are struggling to make an impact on the world scene.

Although aware that they could still qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Boon Heong prefers to play down expectations, saying he’d rather take it slow and steady with Kien Keat.

“We have not played for a while and it will take time to get re-adjusted. We’ll take it slow and see how far we can go,” said Boon Heong.

“We’re not attached with any particular club right now. We are just two passionate shuttlers wanting to play on as professionals.”

On Malaysia’s poor performance at the ongong home tournament, Boon Heong said: “It’s sad to see that we do not have representatives in both the men’s singles and doubles events.

“Maybe, our players are unable to handle the pressure playing at home ... but most of them are still young.”

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