Badminton Life

Young Partners Step Up for Malaysia

Malaysia's back-up men's doubles players are to be given a chance to shine on the international stage when they line-up alongside either half of a partnership that has been dissolved.

Hoon Thien How and Khoo Chung Chiat are the young players who are being thrust into the limelight.

Hoon will partner Ong Soon Hock while Khoo will team up with Tan Bin Shen. The new partnerships have come about after the Badminton Association of Malaysia decided to split up the Ong-Tan combination after they failed to make an impact on the international circuit.

As separate entities, and with new partners, the duo feel they can move forward and find success.

Ong and Hoon, who teamed up for the first time earlier this year at the Singapore Open, link up again this week's China Masters, where they will come up against some tough opposition.

Ong, who is ranked 49 in the world with Hoon, said in the Malaysian media that he hopes for new direction in his career.

"My previous partnership (with Tan) had stagnated," he was quoted as saying. "I achieved good results in my first tournament with Thien How but I still had my doubts.

"But when we continued to do well, I knew that there was a future in this partnership. Thien How plays well at the back court and is great with his smashes.

"I am sharp at the front. We are able to complement each other well."

Ong's target is that to qualify for next year's World Championships in India, which features only the top 16 men's doubles pairs.

The 71st-ranked pair of Tan and Khoo have had minor success, reaching the last eight in Singapore but failing to make an impact at the Indonesian Open and Taiwan Open.

"We are still trying to settle down," said Tan. "There is still a lot more we can improve on. But Khoo is a good player and I will do my best to make this partnership work."

Malaysia have a strong tradition in men's doubles with Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong winning the All England title in 2007. However, they have failed to live up to expectations since and face an uncertain future.

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