PETALING JAYA: The Indonesian challenge is probably at its weakest in the mens doubles badminton competition of the 16th World Championships in Madrid. But Malaysias Koo Kien Keat chooses not to underestimate their strength.
The 21-year-old Kien Keat and his partner Chan Chong Ming are one of the three Malaysian pairs competing in the world meet, which starts in Madrid tomorrow.
The other Malaysians in the fray are world number three Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and debutant Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Lin Woon Fui.
The world number five pair of Kien Keat-Chong Ming, who are competing in their second world meet as a pair, have been seeded joint 5th-8th in the world meet.
Indonesia may not have an outstanding pair in their line-up this time. But they can still pose a challenge.
Somehow, the Indonesians can rise to the occasion, said Kien Keat in a telephone interview from Madrid.
Following the retirement of Candra Wijaya and the migration of several top players like Tony Gunawan, Halim Hariyanto to the US, Indonesia will only parade the pairs of Alven Yulianto-Luluk Hadiyanto and Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan, both of whom have been inconsistent.
The world number nine pair of Alven-Luluks best achievement this year has been semi-final finishes at the Indonesian Open and the Asian Championships while their younger compatriots, who are ranked one rung below, achieved their career best by winning the Hong Kong Open recently.
There is an outside chance of the Malaysians meeting Alven-Luluk in the semi-finals.
For that to happen, Kien Keat-Chong Ming will have to get the better of joint third-fourth seed Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen in the quarter-finals while Alven-Luluk will have to beat top seeds Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China in another top eight battle.
We cannot underestimate any of our opponents here. The Indonesians go the extra mile when they take on Malaysians and we will not take them lightly at all.
Kien Keat, who is known for his entertaining and fanciful play, is eager to go a step further in the world meet. They were semi-finalist at the last years meet in Los Angeles.
Chong Ming and I have been training hard for this world meet. This has been our main focus. Both of us are in good condition and hopefully, we will go far, he added.
Kien Keat-Chong Ming have won three titles this year the Swiss Open, Melbourne Commonwealth Games and the Malaysian Open.