Millionaire duo set sights on a final Olympic fling

Millionaire duo set sights on a final Olympic fling
Kien Kiat (left) and Boon Heong receive a shot in the arm, worth RM 2 million ahead of the challenge to qualify the Rio Olympics next year.

CYBERJAYA - A whopping RM 2 million (S$740,000). That's the amount will be backing independent men's doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in their quest for a third successive Olympic appearance.

The lucrative deal secured by the pair with property developer Seri Mutiara Development Sdn Bhd on was certainly a jaw-dropping sum and could be the biggest yet for Malaysian professional shuttlers.

And the sponsorship could not have come at a better time for the former world No. 1 pair, who recently announced that they are resuming their partnership for one last shot at Olympic glory.

The deal will cover their expenses for local and overseas competitions as well as training and coaching.

The 2006 Asian Games gold medallists have also roped in former internationals Lee Wan Wah and Chew Choon Eng to guide them.

"We are glad that Seri Mutiara are backing us financially as we seek to realise our Olympic dreams once more," said the 29-year-old Kien Keat.

"It's an uphill task because we are going to start from scratch. But with this sponsorship we have one thing less to worry about.

"Now our immediate concern is how to get back into the best competitive shape.

"We are counting on Wan Wah and Choon Eng to help us achieve that. We have a lot of faith in them and that's why we picked them."

When asked how the idea of reuniting with Boon Heong came about, Kien Keat replied: "This all happened mainly because we share the same goal - to play in the Olympics.

"I still have a lot of desire to play at the highest level. In my time as a coach in Thailand (Granular badminton club), I miss the action on court and that is why I'm making a comeback.

"I got in touch with Boon Heong and we've been toying with the idea of resuming our partnership."

Kien Keat-Boon Heong have registered their participation in the Australian Open Superseries from May 26-31 but they are not expected to make the cut with their current low ranking of No. 215.

They will most likely start competing in June in lower tier tournaments such as the International Challenge, Grand Prix and Grand Prix Gold and work their way up.

Kien Keat-Boon Heong will have to at least place themselves in the top 16 of the world rankings list on May 5 2016, the cut off date to stand a chance of being part of the Rio Games.

They reached the quarter-finals in their debut at the 2008 Beijing Games and were semi-finalists four years later in London.

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