BIRMINGHAM, March 13 (Bernama) -- The year 2005 marked a very significant beginning to Malaysian badminton, especially for the men's doubles, with the arrival of Indonesian coach Rexy Mainaky.
The former Indonesian doubles ace who together with partner Ricky Subagja won every title that was available during their time -- world championship, All- England and Thomas Cup -- to name a few, was appointed national doubles coach.
Two years on, he had plotted the success of two youngsters who become the most exciting doubles pair in world badminton.
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong who clinched the All-England men's doubles title two days ago after beating world number one seeds Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng of China, were quick to pay tribute to their coach for his tireless efforts, contributions and guidance.
''He has been a key factor in our success. We've learnt many new tactics and skills from him and so are the new players who have come through the ranks. He also guides us during games, shouting quick instructions when we make mistakes or when there is a change in tactics by our opponents.''
''For example, during the final, the Chinese pair switched tactics during the second game and Rexy was quick to observe and gave us instructions to vary the game,'' said Kien Keat.
Under his guidance, the duo shot to fame within a span of five months, winning the Asian Games men's doubles gold after 36 years and now the All- England men's doubles gold after 25 years.
''Our goal now is to win the World Championships that will be hosted by Malaysia later this year and the ultimate aim is to win the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics,'' said Kien Keat.
Rexy, who feels very much at home and who has become more than just a coach to the players, said the best thing about the players was that there are many young players coming through the ranks and they are willing to learn.
Besides the Kien Keat-Boon Heong pair, there are three other young pairs along with the Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah veteran pair.
Among the young pairs under Rexy's charge are Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari/ Lin Woon Fui, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif/Gan Teik Chai and Ong Soon Hock/Tan Bin Shen.
''Preparing the players entails a number of aspects like tactics, skills, endurance, sports science and of course mental. As a coach, I take charge of the first three and we have sports science experts and mental trainers from the National Sports Council.''
''In a match, mental strength is very important as when the players are on court, 40 per cent is skill and 60 per cent mental. If a good player doesn't have the mental strength to absorb the pressure from his opponent, he or she will most likely lose the match.''
''When preparing players mentally, players need to be assessed individually and according to their characters because different players have different characteristics.''
''Some may be soft while others can be tough. Some can take pressure while others tend to buckle,'' Rexy told Bernama in an exclusive interview here.
He also said grooming players to become champions cannot happen overnight.
''Time will be an essence and patience is a key factor. My dream is to see players whom I coach emulate my success or go a step further than what I've achieved as a player,'' he added.(bernama.com)