Wednesday, July 18, 2012 | | By: Febi

No easy ride for Koo-Tan

PETALING JAYA: China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng and the two Korean pairs of Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae and Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong are definitely the favourites for the men’s doubles badminton gold medal in the Olympics.

But if there is one pair that Malaysia’s top pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong prefer facing in the group stages, it is Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen.

On paper, Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who themselves have gone through a torrid past year of poor performances, have a better chance of beating the Danes.

After all, they have a 7-4 head-to-head record against Boe-Morgensen, the best record against a top four pair and it is certainly much better compared to the 4-9 record against Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng or the 1-12 against Jae-sung-Yong-dae.

Among the top four, Boe-Morgensen are the ones who are seen to be the most shaky and beatable.
However, Boe-Morgensen have won their last three meetings with Kien Kean-Boon Heong and have every right to be regarded as a dangerous pair.

In fact, the Danes were very convincing in their last two performances against the Malaysians, winning 21-14, 21-6 in the World Super Series Finals last year and most recently, 21-15, 21-11, in the Indonesian Open last month.

So regardless of who world No. 8 Kien Keat-Boon Heong face in the group stages, it will definitely be an uphill task.

National men’s doubles coach Tan Kim Her, however, believes that Kien Keat-Boon Heong have enough firepower to prevail in the group stages and become realistic medal prospects.

“It’s true that Boe-Morgensen have won the last two meetings convincingly because Kien Kean-Boon Heong really weren’t up to the task then,” said Kim Her in a telephone interview from Bath.
“But, Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been really impressive since arriving in Bath and I believe they have a realistic shot at a medal if they can get it during the tournament.

“Besides, a lot is also left to the type of shuttlecocks that will be used during the tournament and hopefully fate will favour us. It is no secret that Boe-Morgensen are not as good with slow shuttlecocks compared to fast types. They’re good but its not their favourite and it might work to our favour.

“But the Koreans are pretty strong with a slow shuttlecock and that is one of the reasons why I rate them as favourites alongside Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng for the gold medal,” added Kim Her.
The draw for the badminton competition will only be released on Sunday with only the top four pairs being seeded.

The remaining 12 pairs will go through a blind draw and who Kien Keat-Boon Heong will face is anyone’s guess.




THE STAR

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