NATIONAL doubles coach Yap Kim Hock may pair off Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah with different partners for the Malaysia Open in Kuantan on June 29-July 4, which serves as the warm-up tournament for the Athens Olympics in August.

If Kim Hock goes ahead with this option, Tan Fook will partner Koo Kien Keat, while Wan Wah will guide Gan Teik Chai in Kuantan, an experiment which was supposed to begin after the Olympics.

However, Kim Hock wants to get the feedback from Tan Fook-Wan Wah, the World No 4 pair, before making a final decision.

"I have two options. I may split Tan Fook-Wan Wah or play them as a pair in the Malaysia Open," said Kim Hock.

"Much will depend on the training and discussion with the senior pair next week.

" If Tan Fook-Wan Wah are serious about the Malaysia Open and aim for the title, they will compete as a pair.

"Tan Fook-Wan Wah’s seedings in the Olympics will not affected if they partner other players in the Kuantan. In Athens, they should be seeded among the top four based on the May 1 world ranking.

"Whatever the decision is, Tan Fook-Wan Wah’s focus is the Olympics and the decision will not disrupt their preparation for the major event."

Kim Hock was contemplating splitting Tan Fook-Wan Wah but this is definitely unwise as all the top pairs are expected to compete in the Malaysia Open in Kuantan.

The Open will give Kim Hock a chance to gauge the current performance of the other pairs, and splitting them is unlikely to do any good for Tan Fook-Wan Wah in the Olympics.

"If they can win the Malaysia Open, it will boost their morale. But I need to speak to them if they have other plans.

"They have already played in the Sydney Olympics four years ago and are not short of experience.

"I am still keeping my options open and the training sessions next week will help me make a final decision."

The fitness levels of both players, who are constantly hit by injuries, will also be a crucial factor and they might even have to skip the Malaysia Open if they are not ready.

Skipping the tournament might be a better option than playing with different partners for Tan Fook-Wan Wah.

NST