Coach still in the hunt to find successors to Arif-Haikal

PETALING JAYA: Shuttlers Justin Hoh and Mohd Fazriq Razif are not going to be the successors for outgoing top-ranked boys’ doubles pair Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Mohd Haikal Nazri in the national junior team.

World No. 12 Justin-Fazriq are ranked second behind Arif-Haikal in the ranking, followed by No. 39 Beh Chun Meng-Goh Boon Zhe in third spot.

Justin, however, has decided to concentrate on the singles while Fazriq is still undecided.

Their coach Vountus Indra Mawan has decided to seek other replacements as Arif-Haikal, both 18, will not be eligible to compete in junior tournaments next year.

Vountus, who took over from Pang Cheh Chang in July, has to produce at least two formidable pairs to carry the nation’s challenge in two majors next year – the Asian Junior Championships and World Junior Championships.

“I would rather work with the players at my disposal. Justin and Fazriq have bright prospects in the singles, ” said Vountus.

“They have been training under the singles department anyway, it’s better for them to stay put.

“We may field them in competitions on an ad hoc basis if they want to.”

Vountus said his immediate target is to raise the standard of Chun Meng-Boon Zhe and form new partnerships based on the players’ recent performance at the 100Plus National Junior Ranking Challenge.

The others in the squad are Kok Jia Cheng, Ooi Yi Hern, Bryan Jeremy, Liew Xun and Choi Jian Sheng and Wong Vin Sean.

“Chun Meng-Boon Zhe are improving fast, they aren’t too far from the world’s top 10, ” added Vountus.

“We saw some talents from the recent ranking challenge and have made plans for them. We’re making full use of the time we have in the absence of competitions to develop each of them individually.

“We will get them ready to compete and peak by the time the tournaments return.”

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