PETALING JAYA: National men’s doubles shuttler Wan Arif Wan Junaidi admitted that it was difficult to accept the coaches’ decision to split him and Mohd Haikal Nazri.
Arif saw his three-year partnership with Haikal end after the latter was combined with Nur Izzuddin Rumsani.
This came following Izzuddin’s decision to part ways with Goh Sze Fei.
Arif will now form a new partnership with Yap Roy King.
“When I first heard this, I felt sad as it happened suddenly and I still didn’t know who was going to be my new partner,” he said.
“Then I had discussions with doubles coaching director Rexy (Mainaky) and felt a bit better afterwards.
“I was still trying to process everything and I shared the news with my family.
“We felt that maybe this could be something positive and I can form a good partnership with Roy King,” said Arif.
Arif and Haikal were fondly known as the ‘Patatimo Boys’ (Boys from the east coast) as the former hails from Terengganu while the latter is from Kelantan.
They were first paired together at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Russia where they reached the quarter-finals.
In senior events, Haikal-Arif had showed plenty of promise, capturing three titles in 2021 – the Austrian Open, Hellas and Ukraine International.
The duo also came close to winning their first World Tour title at the Orleans Masters last year but had to concede a walkover in the final to Dutch pair Ruben Jille-Ties Van Der Lecq after Haikal tested positive for Covid-19.
Haikal-Arif were 47th in the latest world rankings.
While disappointed to see his partnership with Haikal come to an end, Arif has vowed to give his all in his new journey with Roy King.
“I chose Roy King as my new partner as he’s able to play in the back court and I felt he can complement me.
“When I was playing with Haikal, we kept rotating between the front and back court.
“So now, I will work harder on improving my game at the front court to gel with Roy King,” said Arif.
Meanwhile, Haikal is putting his faith in Rexy and the other coaches’ decision.
“I feel partnerships depend on us as individuals too. Whoever we partner, it’s important to keep the faith in the coaches’ decision and give our very best to make our new partnerships a success,” said Haikal.