Kien Keat-Boon Heong regaining confidence but have some way to go
Friday, 02 Mar 2012
By K.M. Boopathy
Tan Boon Heong (left) and Koo Kien Keat have been told to focus on their first two matches at the All England in Birmingham starting Tuesday.
MEN’S doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, despite showing glimpses of their former brilliance the last three weeks, are still not regarded as All England title contenders by their coach Tan Kim Her.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong led from the front to help Malaysia qualify for the Thomas Cup Finals in Macau two weeks ago where they also ended their six-match losing streak to South Korea’s No 2 Ko Sung Hyun-Yoo Yeon Seong.
Kien Keat partnered Lim Khim Wah to win the Selangor Open on Sunday but Kim Her feels they still have a long way to go to become the feared combination they once were and they must take it one match at a time in the All England, which starts in Birmingham on Tuesday.
The draw looks easy for the duo until the last eight as they will play Japan’s Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato in the first round and are then expected to meet Hong Wei-Shen Ye of China but Kien Keat-Boon Heong have lost to lesser known pairs previously.
Hong Wei-Shen Ye have beaten Kien Keat-Boon Heong and this is the reason why Kim Her doesn’t want to leave anything to chance. The coach is not even thinking about a potential clash against World No 2 Jung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae in the quarter-finals.
Jae Sung-Yong Dae have an impressive record of 12 wins in 14 meetings against the Malaysians and Kim Her wants Kien Keat-Boon Heong to focus on their first two matches.
“I always remind Kien Keat-Boon Heong to become hunters and target the opponents but they must also be prepared and be realistic. Let’s not talk about beating Jae Sung-Yong Dae yet as Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s resurgence has just begun,” said a cautious Kim Her.
“Macau was a good motivation for them but I am not going to set them a target. They should take it one match at a time. Let them beat the Japanese pair in the first round first.
“Hong Wei-Shen Ye are also strong and have beaten Kien Keat-Boon Heong, so the second round is not as easy as it looks.”
Kim Her added: “I was unable to push them in training because of back-to-back tournaments (Thomas Cup qualifiers and the Selangor Open) so I have not set any targets for them.
“They must show steady progress but the most important thing is to peak in the London Olympics. There’s no point winning international titles now but fail in the Olympics.”
Despite Kim Her’s caution, Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s current form suggests they will meet Jae Sung-Yong Dae in the last eight and the match will show if the Malaysian pair have made progress.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s fitness has been their biggest worry but there has been improvement since Roesdi Ghani was assigned as their physical trainer four weeks ago.
Roesdi, who has been in charge of World No 1 Lee Chong Wei for the last six years, will also help Hafiz Hashim and world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli until the Thomas Cup Finals in May.
Zulfadli has also received a letter of invitation from BA of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh yesterday and will join training on Monday under Hendrawan.
Courtesy of New Straits Times