I hope the new pairs can click and flourish, says Rexy

PETALING JAYA: Rexy Mainaky is hoping the new men’s doubles combinations formed in the national team can go on to flourish.

The national doubles coaching director had been working hard to come up with different pairings after Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani decided to part ways.

Rexy has now come up with three new pairings – Sze Fei-Choong Hon Jian, Izzuddin-Mohd Haikal Nazri and Wan Arif Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King.

The Indonesian had to make the tough decision to split Haikal-Arif, who were fondly known as the ‘Patatimo Boys’ (Boys from the east coast).

Haikal, who is from Kelantan and Arif, who hails from Kemaman, Terengganu, had been playing together for about three years and were 47th in the latest world rankings.

“It’s not my intention to split any pairs but I was forced to as I had to get new partners for Sze Fei and Izzuddin.

“There were rumours that Izzuddin and Haikal will be paired together permanently after they won the Malaysian International Challenge last December (when they were temporarily combined) and I admit that there were discussions among us coaches as well.

“I had to make difficult decisions on the new partnerships and it’s sad to see the end of a high ranked pair Sze Fei-Izzuddin but if we can produce three winning partnerships from this, then this is something positive,” said Rexy.

He also dismissed suggestions that the reshuffle was unfair on Sze Fei and Arif as both their new partners – Hon Jian and Roy King – were inexperienced.

Hon Jian is 22 years old and is from the mixed doubles squad while Roy King, who will also turn 22 on Friday, has barely featured in top-tier World Tour events with previous partner Chang Yee Jun.

Currently, Roy King is also playing in mixed doubles with Valeree Siow.

“I can’t say that this is unfair as there’s no guarantee that Izzuddin-Haikal will turn out to be more successful than Sze Fei-Hon Jian and Arif-Roy King.

“It all depends on the players’ desire and commitment too.

“Although it’s almost impossible for any of the pairs to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, I will not rule them out just yet.

“If they work hard and fight until the end, nothing is out of reach.

“These new partnerships does not mean the end of the world for the players.

“On the contrary, they need to take this as a fresh start and an opportunity to prove themselves,” said Rexy.

The three pairs will begin their new journeys with four back-to-back tournaments next month – the Thailand International Challenge (March 7-12), China Masters (March 14-19), Vietnam International Challenge (March 21-26) and Osaka International Challenge (March 29-April 2).

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Rexy Mainaky , doubles , coach


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