PETALING JAYA: Rexy Mainaky, known for experimenting with new combinations in the past, will try out his reshuffled men’s doubles pairs at the Malaysian International Challenge in Ipoh from Dec 13-18.
Although the national doubles coaching director stressed the changes will not be permanent, the tournament may help him gauge how well his players adapt to different partners.
World champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik are the only pair to be spared as the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) next three pairs – Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun and Juanidi Arif-Haikal Nazri – will play with different partners.
The new pairings at the Malaysian International Challenge are Izzuddin-Haikal, Sze Fei-Goh Boon Sze, Wei Chung-Fazriq Razif, Junaidi-Wong Vin Sean and Kai Wun-Beh Chun Meng.
Sze Fei-Izzuddin and Wei Chong-Kai Wun have been stagnant despite winning the German Open in March and Taiwan Open in July respectively, and this could also be a wake-up call for them.
However, Rexy had downplayed the move and said that splitting the pairs permanently is not his idea.
“I don’t have the intention of splitting these pairs for the long term. We are trying to get the right combination for the back-up players and we are trying out new combinations,” said Rexy.
“As for the three senior pairs, maybe this tournament will refresh them and they can also try to learn to play with different partners.
“We can’t try this out in the Malaysia Open as they will not be seeded and may end up playing against each other in the first round. So the Malaysian International Challenge is a good avenue to see how some pairs perform.
“You can also say that this is a warning for some pairs who have not been performing for some time.”
Rexy is known for taking gambles and trying out scratch pairs in tournaments, and also has the eye to identify strong young combinations.
After all, the Indonesian was the one who decided to pair off Koo Kien Keat with Tan Boon Heong in 2006 and they became an instant hit. They went on to win the Doha Asia Games gold and All England titles that year and became one of Malaysia’s best doubles pairs.
Rexy may have something up his sleeves and the Malaysian International Challenge could give him some ideas if he is really serious about coming up with new combinations.
This exercise could also help Sze Fei-Izzuddin and Wei Chong-Kai Wun buck up and save their partnerships, with the Olympic qualifying period for Paris 2024 starting in six months time.