Badminton Life

Rexy has High Hopes for Men's Doubles Pairs

Malaysia's doubles coach Rexy Mainaky is hoping everything can come together for his two Olympic pairings as he sets his sights on medals at the Beijing Games.

Malaysia will be represented by the former All England champions Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, as well as Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah.

Despite the former's notoriety, it is Choong and Lee who are the higher-ranking pair, at number four in the world, thanks in large part to their semi-final appearance at the All England this year.

However, Koo and Tan, the 2007 All England champions, are only one place behind. The two pairs face tough competition from Indonesia's leading paring of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.

Also standing in their way could be China's Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun, and the South Korean duo of Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung.

Although it will be difficult, Rexy wants his players to believe they are capable of winning a medal.

"I would put them as medal contenders," Rexy was quoted as saying in the Malaysian media. "They have realistic chances and we will get a clearer picture after the draw.

"Top seeded pairs were winners in previous Olympics but the script will be different this time. No one pair have been consistent enough. The Koreans looked good at the All-England and Swiss Open but they lost to Danish veterans Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen in the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta.

"We do not know their current form yet because they opted to train at home after that. It will be the first Olympics for the Koreans and it remains to be seen how they cope under pressure as one of the favourites after having won three titles this year.

"As for the Indonesians, they may be the top seeds for the Olympics but they are not invincible and it's the same for the Chinese pair."

Malaysia are still looking for the their first gold medal in the Olympics with badminton one of the favourites to deliver. In 1992 brothers Razif and Jalani Sidek won bronze in Barcelona's men's doubles while Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock won a silver in 1996 in Atlanta.

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