FINAL FLING: Kien Keat may not get another shot at the Olympics
KOO Kien Keat may not get another crack at an Olympic medal in 2016 and this, according to national men's doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her, is reason enough for the player to regain his big match temperament for the London Games.
Kien Keat, 27, missed out on his first opportunity with Tan Boon Heong in Beijing 2008 when they were still among the favourites but lost to eventual champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. Their form has dipped tremendously ever since.
However, Kim Her said Kien Keat had previously shown that he is a big match player and has it in him to prove the critics wrong by playing above himself in London. Come the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games he will be 31.
The title contenders in London are South Korea's Chung Jae Sung-Lee Yong Dae and China's Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng while Denmark's Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen are also tipped to secure a medal but Kim Her feels this will also work in Kien Keat-Boon Heong's favour.
"True champions will fight back when put in a corner and Kien Keat-Boon Heong are in that situation now. Kien Keat may not get another opportunity to play in the Olympics so London is where he must prove his credentials as a big match player again," said Kim Her yesterday.
"Kien Keat-Boon Heong must keep in mind that they have beaten the top pairs on many occasions. They have been working hard in training the last three weeks. Kien Keat has improved his speed on court while Boon Heong is also sharper in his attacks."
Kim Her added: "The draw on July 23 is also crucial but it is all up to them and how hungry they are for success."
Malaysia have failed to reach the men's doubles semi-finals in the last two editions and there is a fear the poor run will continue in London but Kim Her begged to differ.
"Every pair that play in the Olympics come with the belief they can win the men's doubles gold and this is the attitude Kien Keat-Boon Heong must adopt," said Kim Her. "They are at the home stretch and possibly their final chance for Olympic glory."
There is a strong possibility that another failure will signal the end of Kien Keat's six-year partnership with Boon Heong and this is another reason the former must secure a medal in order to lengthen his international career.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong left with the other shuttlers and coaches for a 10-day training stint at the University of Bath yesterday. They will check in at Wembley Arena, the venue for badminton, on July 24. Competition begins on July 28.