KUALA LUMPUR: Lee Chong Wei’s feat in winning the home Open for the fifth time was not the only highlight of the performances of the Malaysian shuttlers in the championships, which ended at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil here on Sunday.
It will also be remembered for the positive attitude showed by the doubles players even though none of the pairs got past the quarter-finals.
The elite doubles players, especially Tan Boon Heong, showed maturity while the many back-up pairs displayed strong fighting spirit. And the positive signs augur well for Malaysian badminton this year.
Boon Heong showed that he has stepped out of the shadows of his more illustrious partner, Koo Kien Keat, when he spoke with confidence on their quarter-final elimination by eventual champions Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung of South Korea.
He gave good analysis of the game. In the past, he would often stay mum and left the talking to the flamboyant Kien Keat.
National doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky was delighted with Boon Heong’s growing confidence.
“He is a more mature player now. He is a world-class player and knows what is expected from him. He is brave to voice his opinion. And that is really good,” said Rexy.
“Tan was the master and took many initiatives in the match against the Koreans. Koo lost a little of his magic touches. But both are looking more confident with their game now and with more work, they will be ready for the task ahead (All-England in Birmingham from March 3-9).”