(Source: The Star, Sep 21, 2007) Badminton: Nadzmi the mediator By RAJES PAUL KUALA LUMPUR: Top men's doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong turned one year older last Tuesday. But they did not celebrate their birthday together because of a strained relationship that developed from their uninspiring performances in recent international tournaments. Yesterday, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, stepped in to prevent a possible split in partnership with a pep talk with the duo at the BAM's office in Bukit Kiara here. “I reminded that they are doubles players. The doubles is not only about Koo or Tan. They are two in one. They cannot afford to be individualistic on court. One must accommodate space for the other,” said Nadzmi. “I do not want them to make the mistake by blaming each other for the failures. They must act together.” In the World Championships last month, Kien Keat-Boon Heong failed to live up to expectations and were beaten in the quarter-finals by unheralded Japanese Shuichi Sakamoto-Shintaro Ikeda. And in the Japan Open last week, they suffered a second-round defeat by Indonesians Alven Yulianto-Luluk Hadiyanto. National doubles coach Rexy Mainaky, who was also present at the meeting, pointed out that Kien Keat lacked faith in his partnership with Boon Heong. “I met (Lee) Chong Wei the last time. I have to find out what went wrong with our top pair, who started out so well (by winning the Asian Games gold medal in Doha last December followed by victories in the Open tournaments in Malaysia, England and Switzerland),” said Nadzmi. “I am glad that both of them were open to me. They need to learn to manage themselves – that is the key to get back to the top again. They are of different characters but they must stay united and work together towards the same goals. “They have agreed that they did not want to waste anyone's time anymore. They are committed to bring honours to the country again. I reminded them of the Thomas Cup, which we hope to win next year and also the Beijing Olympics. I am happy to see that they were charged up after the meeting.” Rexy wants Kien Keat-Boon Heong to start afresh. “Koo needs to know Tan's strength. He tries to cover for Tan all the time. He must learn to understand his partner better. I see some positive changes in them today (during training). It is important they trust each other,” he said. Boon Heong agreed that things were not rosy of late in his partnership with Kien Keat. “Koo told the coach (Rexy) that I am not complementing him well. I do not blame him. He is so eager to win and I did not play up to his expectation in the last few tournaments,” he said. “No, we have never talked about this. We are two different individuals. We do not share the same topics of discussion. We enter the court and try to give our best in our own ways. “There is a problem but this is part and parcel of a partnership. But we will solve this and move forward again. I am determined to get this partnership back to top.” For a restart, Boon Heong said that they would go out tomorrow for a belated birthday celebration. Boon Heong and Kien Keat are now 20 and 22 respectively.