KUALA LUMPUR: The first two men’s doubles pairs are confirmed. They are Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.
But the coaches are finding it hard to find a reliable third pair for the country at next year’s Thomas Cup Finals.
And national doubles coach Rosman Razak has blamed it on the inconsistent performances of the back-up shuttlers.
Currently, the six back-up pairs in the national squad are Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong, Chan Peng Soon-Lim Khim Wah, Hoon Thien How-Ong Soon Hock, Vountus Indra Mawan-Goh Wei Shem, Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Teo Kok Siang and Khoo Chung Chiat-Mohd Razif Abdul Latif.
Peng Soon-Khim Wah won the men’s doubles title at the Thailand Open last month but lost to an unheralded pair in the Macau Open first round.
Hee Chun-Wee Kiong and Vountus-Wei Shem have achieved good results – albeit in patches.
Rosman said that the focus now was to help the back-up pairs to become steadier.
“The coaches are having a tough time. One pair will take the limelight at one stage.
“And when we start to focus on them, they stumble. At the same time, another pair will start to shine,” said Rosman.
“We have quality in our big pool of doubles players but inconsistency is a big problem. I hesitate to name the best back-up pair among the lot now because they have become unpredictable.
“For now, the race is still open as far as the third back-up pair for the Thomas Cup Finals is concerned and we will continue to groom them to be more solid.”
Rosman said the back-up players would compete in Grand Prix gold tournament on a regular basis before they are given the green light to compete in the Super Series.
“We want them to win the GP gold titles on a regular basis before handing them bigger challenges,” he said.
On the elite players, Rosman said Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Fairuzizuan-Zakry were showing improvement in training after their semi-final finishes at the last month’s World Championships in Hyderabad.
“Malaysia went to the world meet with hopes of winning but our pairs failed to deliver. We have reviewed the defeats with the players and they know where they had gone wrong,” he said.
“Since resuming training, they have been showing positive signs and we are looking forward to a better performance from them in our next major tournaments (Thomas Cup and Asian Games next year).”