Badminton Life

Big-headed Koo Needs to Abandon Party Life or Face Olympic Chop

One year ago this time, Malaysia's Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong were being hailed as national heroes after they won the All England men's doubles title.

How times have changed, with the pair facing the possibility of being dropped for the Beijing Olympic Games. The world number three ranked pair had a disappointing 2008 All England campaign, losing in the first round and national doubles coach Rexy Mainaky has lashed out at the duo, especially Koo, who he described in local media as being "big headed and non-committal".

Rexy is also concerned about reports he is hearing about Koo's lifestyle.

"I have spoken to Kien Keat about it several times but he does not want to listen. He is too big headed and even his partner Boon Heong is fed-up with him," said Rexy in the New Straits Times.

"The thing that frightens me the most is the rumours I have been hearing about his lifestyle. If women are the main reason for his downfall, he better stay away from the sport.

"Let's see what happens in the coming weeks. If he does not improve, I will have no choice but to drop them from the Olympics."

Rexy, who needs the support of the Badminton Association of Malaysia if he wants to drop the pair, said he was confident that the nation's two other pairings can fill in for Koo and Tan, should they be sidelined.

Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah reached the semi-finals of the? All-England Championships and Swiss Open and have risen to fourth in the world. Mohd Zakry Latif and Mohd Fairuzizuan, meanwhile, are a competitive 14th.

Rexy added: "At this stage, both these pairs have a better chance of winning an Olympic medal in Beijing compared to them.

"I hope that if I am forced to drop the Kien Keat and Boon Heong combination, the BAM will fully support my decision."

Koo and Tan emerged as one of the best men's doubles pairings of 2007 following their excellent triumph at the All England Championship. However, they have failed to recapture that form this year.

There was major disappointment for the pair in January when, in front of their home crowds at the Malaysian Open, they lost in only the second round.

Following their All England slump, they went out of the Swiss Open in the second round. The worrying aspect for Rexy is that their defeats have come against lower-ranked opponents.

And with the Thomas Cup Finals approaching in May in Jakarta, the coach must make some decisions soon. One thing, however, he has already decided on is his own position as national doubles coach.

"I will commit to my contract till it expires in 2009," he told the newspaper.

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