For ex-doubles king Kien Keat, home is always away | other | Hindustan Times
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For ex-doubles king Kien Keat, home is always away

Simply having world No 1 Lee Chong Wei makes Malaysia a leading badminton nation and the following for the game is naturally huge. However, for its former doubles world No 1, Koo Kien Keat, home is not where the heart is. Anand Sachar reports.

other Updated: Aug 25, 2013 02:03 IST
Anand Sachar

Simply having world No 1 Lee Chong Wei makes Malaysia a leading badminton nation and the following for the game is naturally huge. However, for its former doubles world No 1, Koo Kien Keat, home is not where the heart is.

Kien Keat blames the home spectators for judging their own players too harshly, especially when they lose. After the world number four pair of Tan Boon Heong and Kien Keat lost in the men’s quarterfinals at the World Championships in Guangzhou, he was frustrated.

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“I feel suffocated in my own country. I feel more comfortable playing in another country, like China, because they appreciate us whether we win or lose. Please, don’t get me wrong. I love playing for Malaysia. I’m just explaining the expectations here,” he had told the Malaysian media.

After the event, Kien Keat headed to India to play for the Delhi Smashers in the Indian Badminton League (IBL). The league, to his relief, has been refreshingly different. “I was surprised at the crowd turnouts. Never knew India had such badminton following,” he told HT, pointing to the stands in the Kanteerava stadium. “They say all these are sold out. We have had similar turnouts in most of the previous games.”

Kien Keat places India amongst the top countries in the world in terms of the stadium atmosphere. “It is amazing to play in front of people who enjoy the game and support you. I would say India is right up there with the likes of China,” he said.