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Dad-to-be Kien Keat hoping for a fresh start (pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Fatherhood will be the motivation for national doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat to turn around his flagging career this year.

The 28-year-old, who married Audrey Tan last year, is set to become a proud father. His wife is due in April.

And with the baby on its way, Kien Keat is looking very positive to restore his fortunes in badminton with his loyal partner Tan Boon Heong.

“I am quite excited to become a father. It means more changes and responsibility but I am looking forward to the juggling act (of striking a balance between family and badminton),” said Kien Keat after a training session on Monday.

“I hope to make my child and family proud by doing well in badminton. I have to admit that there have not been much good results for me of late and I hope to get back to the top,” he said.

There have already been changes over the past weeks as far as his commitment as a player is concerned. He was only absent from training once when he had to take his wife for a medical checkup.

Kien Keat said it was important to regain his confidence and return to form ahead of a hectic badminton year. He is pinning his hopes on representing the country in the Thomas Cup Finals, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Championships.

“There are several major tournaments which I hope to do well in again. It has been a while since I came good in a major event,” said Kien Keat, who shot to stardom with Boon Heong after winning the Asian Games gold medal in 2006 in Doha.

Kien Keat also did well at the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where he won three gold medals - men’s doubles, mixed doubles and mixed team event.

He is also confident that the rise of his compatriots Hoon Thien Hoon-Tan Wee Kiong in the men’s doubles department will push him and Boon Heong to achieve better results.

“Hopefully, this will see the men’s doubles producing good results this year,” said Kien Keat, whose first assignment this year is the Malaysian Open from Jan 14-19 at the Stadium Putra in Bukit Jalil.

“The Malaysian Open is the first tournament for me since I went for surgery for my eye infection (last month) and missed the BWF World Super Series Finals.

“Then, Boon Heong was down with fever and we had to pull out of the Korean Open (which starts Wednesday in Seoul). For me, it will be great if both of us can get back into tournament form first in the Malaysian Open,” he said.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s best achievement last year was a runners-up finish at the French Open in October. They however have yet to win a Super Series title since winning the Malaysian Open in 2010.

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