Don’t break up pair who may win World Junior title, says Kim Hock

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia have a bright chance to win a doubles title in the World Junior Badminton Championships, which will be held in Alor Setar from Oct 23-Nov 1.

But what happens after that is of more concern for Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) doubles chief coach Yap Kim Hock.

Kim Hock hopes that the pair who manage to emerge as the champions will be given the chance to stay together for at least one year to give them time to work on taking their game to a higher level on the senior stage.

“I have confidence in my boys to win the World Juniors’ doubles title. But I am also looking at their future,” said Kim Hock at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara yesterday.

“If they win, they should be given time, at least a year, to establish themselves among the seniors. But if they fail to rise higher, then the coaches have all the right to review their partnership. A promise to keep them together will also be a motivation for the players to do well in the World Juniors.”

Last year, Malaysia nailed the boys’ doubles title through Mak Hee Chun-Teo Kok Siang. But their partnership did not last long after promotion to the national back-up squad under a new coaching team.

Currently, Hee Chun is with Tan Wee Kiong while Kok Siang teams up with Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid.

Kim Hock sees two pairs having the potential to become formidable challengers for honours on the world stage. They are Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Meng and Pang Zheng Lin-Goh Jian Hao.

Yao Han-Kah Meng is a new combination after Kim Hock decided to split the partnership of Yao Han-Yew Hong Kheng, who won the Commonwealth Youth Games and were the runners-up in the Asian Juniors.

“Yao Han-Kah Meng are the stronger pair. Together with Pang-Goh, we have pairs to challenge strongly for the title,” said Kim Hock.

“In the absence of South Korea, the strong contenders will come from pairs from Malaysia, China and Indonesia. The Indonesians will bank on their Asian junior champions (Angga Pratama-Rendy Yohanes Sugiarto).”

Kim Hock also has hopes high in the mixed doubles event.

“Hong Kheng will concentrate only in the mixed doubles with Ong Boon Hui. We have good pairs and I hope they don’t crumble under pressure,” he said.

There are three other Malaysian mixed doubles pairs in the fray – Kah Meng-Ng Hui Ern, Yao Han-Lai Pei Jing and Tan Wee Tat-Shevon Lai Jemie.

“Yao Han, Wee Tat, Hong Kheng and Jemie will still be eligible to play in next year’s championships. It is good that we have half of the team who could still carry the challenges for Malaysia next year,” said Kim Hock.

The World Juniors at Sultan Abdul Halim Mua’dzam Shah Indoor Stadium in Alor Setar start with the mixed team competition on Oct 23 and Malaysia are in Group Z with Japan, France, Singapore and Cambodia.

The individual events will be played from Oct 28-Nov 1.

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