KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s men’s doubles shuttlers Tan Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How won the hearts of many with a fighting display en route to losing to four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China in the third round of the World Championships in Guangzhou recently.
But national doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her believes that his charges could have pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament had Thien How been trimmer and fitter.
“It’s unfortunate that some players have to battle with weight issues ... but I know that Thien How had put in a lot of effort to reduce his weight,” said Kim Her.
“Earlier this year, the National Sports Institute (NSI) experts worked closely with him and kept tabs of his progress. It’s just unfortunate that he could not lose more.
“But I’m confident that with NSI playing their part and Thien How trying his best, he will only become better.”
Kim Her was, however, happy that Wee Kiong did well in his first world meet, saying it would give him a lot of confidence.
“He did not freeze. He did well to combine with Thien How and showed good skills. The duo have been in the shadows for some time and it was good to see such heart-warming performances from them,” said Kim Her.
The world No. 11 pair had beaten compatriots Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem to set up the match against Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.
Kim Her’s other pair, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, crashed out in the quarter-finals after losing to South Koreans Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang.
Their failure to reach the final has put their future at stake and a decision will be made soon on whether to drop them or pair them up with younger shuttlers.
That is not the only uncertainty. Even Kim Her is unsure of his own future, saying it would all depend on BAM president Tengku Tan Sri Mahaleel Tengku Ariff’s plans.
“Many things are uncertain. We are waiting for new directives from our president. Until then, we’ll continue training the players,” said Kim Her.
Tengku Mahaleel will appoint a new coaching and training chairman and secretary. He will probably announce the new BAM set-up and direction at their council meeting on Sept 2.