KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat’s hope to win his first local title with Tan Boon Heong at the Proton National Grand Prix Finals, which begins tomorrow in Kuala Terengganu, does not look good.
Kien Keat has not touched his racquet since returning from the Korean Open last Monday. And he fell sick yesterday, thus making the task even more difficult.
Asian Games gold medallists Kien Keat and Boon Heong and all the other qualifiers for the annual premier local meet will leave for Terengganu today. And Kien Keat is determined to get back on his feet quickly.
For the last one week, national coach Rexy Mainaky had focused on physical training for the men’s doubles players, and it included hill climbs and intensive workouts in the gymnasium in Bukit Jalil.
“I was only able to join one court training when I came back home from the Korean Open. After that, it has all been physical workouts. We have been jumping, running and carrying weights. It was really taxing,” said Kien Keat.
“It was unfortunate that I fell ill today. After failing to win the Kuala Lumpur Open, Boon Heong and I were looking forward to winning our first local title.”
After winning the Asiad gold medal in Doha last December, Kien Keat-Boon Heong were beaten by Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui in the semi-finals of the KL Open.
But they got off to a superb start this year, winning the Malaysian Open title. They followed it up with a semi-final appearance in the Korean Open, losing to Koreans Lee Jae-jin-Hwang Ji-man.
“The physical training will certainly help us to maintain our form at a high level all the time,” said Kien Keat. “I will leave for Terengganu. Hopefully, I will get better and meet our initial target – that is to reach the semi-finals.”
The top two pairs in the two-group preliminaries qualify for the semi-finals. Kien Keat-Boon Heong are in Group A with Fairuzizuan-Woon Fui, Khoo Chung Chiat-Mohd Razif Latif and Ong Jian Guo-Goh Wei Shem.
Group B comprises Gan Teik Chai-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, Chan Chong Ming-Hoon Thien How, Tan Bin Shen-Ong Soon Hock and Lim Khim Wah-Mak Hee Chun.