KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s top doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have finally spoken their minds – they want to part ways with badminton coach Rexy Mainaky after a tumultuous five-year rollercoaster journey together.
The world No. 5 pair now want to revive their careers under coach Pang Cheh Chang, who is currently handling the women’s doubles department.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong had a heart-to-heart talk with Rexy yesterday to inform him of their decision at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.
The duo had come under severe fire following their meek quarter-final loss to South Koreans Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong in the recent World Championships in Wembley. It was their fifth defeat by the Koreans over two years.
Top national doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong have decided to part ways with coach Rexy Mainaky after a tumultuous fi ve-year journey. The world No. 5 pair want to try their luck under coach Pang Cheh Chang as they seek to bounce back from the recent World Badminton Championships debacle
Just a year earlier, the duo had showed such aggression to reach the final of the world meet before going down to Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China in Paris.
Kien Keat and Boon Heong, however, were quick to point out that they were not blaming Rexy for their recent failures and that they only wanted to find a new direction in their bid to be genuine contenders for medals at next year’s London Olympics.
Kien Keat even admitted that their failure at the world meet was “our own doing”.
“Boon Heong and I are not blaming Rexy. It’s obvious that Boon Heong and I are having problems and it resulted in our poor results at the world meet. We hope this decision to part ways with Rexy will not be misconstrued. We are not blaming him,” said Kien Keat.
“The outcome at the world meet showed that we cannot reproduce the same form that saw us achieve great results in the past. Rexy has done his best for us and we enjoyed good times together ... but we need something new now. We need a change.
Pang Cheh Chang
“Perhaps another coach can help us. We have reached a plateau in our game. Boon Heong and I have run out of ideas on how to improve our game.
“A new coach and a fresh training environment could bring back the excitement in our game. I am not saying that Rexy’s training is boring ... it’s just us. Boon Heong and I are ready to try something different.
“Boon Heong and I had a chat recently and I was keen with his suggestion to train under his former coach Pang.”
Cheh Chang had coached Boon Heong during his junior days at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS). In fact, it was under Cheh Chang’s guidance that Boon Heong and his former partner Hoon Thien How emerged as the world junior champion in 2005.
“I believe Pang will be able to help us. I remember my junior days with him and, hopefully, Koo and I will be able to do something different under him as senior players now,” said Boon Heong.
“It is the same as when you work in a company. If you have been a manager for some time and are not going anywhere, one option is to seek a fresh start elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with the present company but it is more about one’s own will to make a difference.
“Koo and I are not undermining Rexy by switching coaches. We realise that we are not going anywhere and we have to do something if we want to be winners again.
“It was not easy for us to make this decision but we are happy that Rexy took it well when we spoke to him today.
“I will always be thankful to him. We have won many titles but I will remember him for changing my lifestyle. I used to be lazy but he motivated me to work harder.
“We hope that our request to train under Pang will help us keep alive our dream of doing well in the Olympic Games. We want to win and we have to get our act right with just 11 months to go.”
Kien Keat-Boon Heong played in their first international tournament under Rexy at the Japan Open in September 2006 and reached the final. They nailed the Asian Games gold medal for the first time in three decades for the country at Doha in 2006 – marking their rise as the country’s top pair.
Despite the ups and downs under Rexy, Kien Keat-Boon Heong remained as the country’s best bet to win honours and, if given the right backing, they should return to London as one of the main contenders for the gold medal at the Olympic Games.