Wasted opportunity

Lacking that oomph: Soh Wooi Yik (right) and Aaron Chia lost to China’s Liu Yu Chen-Ou Xuan Yi in the second round. — AP

FORMER international Koo Kien Keat believes the Malaysian men’s doubles pairs may have missed a golden opportunity to win an international title on home soil by taking advantage of the fan support.

Kien Keat, who had won the home title three times with two different partners, said the fans were different these days as they have been giving complete support in victory and defeat.

During his heydays, Kien Keat went on to win his first title with Chan Chong Ming in 2006, followed by 2007 and 2010 successes with long-time partner Tan Boon Heong.

“They should have grabbed this opportunity to deliver as we are playing at home. The prize money is good and the fans nowadays are going crazy supporting our players but unfortunately, they couldn’t deliver,” said Kien Keat.

“During my time, there was more pressure playing at home. The fans will boo if we are trailing but the current younger generations are the majority who come to watch matches.

“The new generation will continue supporting the Malaysian players in whatever situations. The fans are definitely less intimidating than those in our era.”

The Malaysian Open is one of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) super 1000 tournaments, which offer the highest prize money on the world tour.

The doubles champions will share a prize money of US$92,500 (RM401,000).

Malaysia have not won the men’s doubles crown since Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong’s triumph in 2014.

Malaysia’s best bets Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik fell in the second round while two other Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) pairs Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani and Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun lost in the first round.

Independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yo were the best local performers as they reached the quarter-finals before losing to world No. 1 Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto of Indonesia in three games.

Kien Keat also hopes that women’s doubles Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah will be given the room to achieve more before being hailed as a world-class pair.

“They won the French Open but just winning one title doesn’t make them a world-class pair. It will only add pressure on them ... we must let them achieve more results,” added Kien Keat.

Kien Keat is hopeful that the Malaysian doubles pairs will start showing better results in the coming events, with the next tournament being the Indian Open in New Delhi which begins tomorrow.

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