KUALA LUMPUR: Top national doubles shuttler Koo Kien Keat values loyalty in a partnership.
That’s why the 28-year-old Kien Keat has stuck with partner Tan Boon Heong for the last 7½ years despite their roller-coaster ride as the country’s number one pair since 2006.
And now Kien Keat has vowed to stay loyal to another partner – his adoring wife Audrey Tan Su Yen, whom he wed on Wednesday in a traditional Chinese ceremony.
On Saturday, the dashing Kien Keat and his demure former personal assistant celebrated their matrimony by hosting their family members and relatives as well as the badminton fraternity and close friends to a gala dinner.
Kien Keat hopes that his marriage to Audrey will be the start of another great and fulfilling journey in his life.
“It’s all about the right timing. I’m glad I found Audrey at a time when I was searching for a change. She is special,” said Kien Keat.
“Before my marriage, I had a different lifestyle. Now, I’m settled down. I know my commitments and responsibilities. I have assured my wife that she has nothing to worry about and I’m glad she understands.”
Kien Keat is also pleased to have Boon Heong standing by him on his special day.
“He was one of the many friends who were present and involved during this important moment of my life,” said Kien Keat, who reached the final of the 2010 World Championships in Paris with Boon Heong.
They also won the 2006 Asian Games gold medal and the 2007 All-England title.
“Much has been said about my relationship with Boon Heong but I’m glad he’s here for me. I just hope that he will continue to understand me as his partner.”
And Kien Keat, who will seek to soar with Boon Heong at the Denmark Open in Odense on Wednesday, hopes that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will support them instead of piling on undue pressure.
Just a week ago, the BAM council had served them another ultimatum – shape up or ship out.
The BAM wanted world No. 5 Kien Keat-Boon Heong to deliver the goods at the back-to-back Super Series in the Denmark Open and French Open or be split up.
They were also issued an ultimatum to deliver at the World Championships in Guangzhou last year after returning home empty-handed from the London Olympic Games.
Their target was to reach the final in Guangzhou, failing which they were to be either dropped or split. They lost in the quarter-finals but their partnership remained.
“I’m just tired of all this. I know the council want the best but I think that it is unnecessary to put undue pressure on us. Things have changed and, for now, Boon Heong and I only want to focus on doing well in badminton,” said Kien Keat.
Kien Keat, who will leave for Odense on Sunday, has two good reasons to do well in the Denmark Open, although the draw has pit the Malaysians in the same quarter as the new South Korean pair of Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yong-sung.
Firstly, Denmark has been a good hunting ground for Kien Keat, having won it three times (twice with Boon Heong and once with Chan Chong Ming). Last year, Kien Keat-Boon Heong reached the final.
And this time, he will be accompanied by his wife as well.