PETALING JAYA: In a surprising twist, Malaysia could have another men’s doubles pair to rely on to fight for a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
This was after national shuttlers Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin Rumsani had decided to put their differences aside and reunite ahead of the Paris showpiece.
Sze Fei and Izzuddin had ended their eight-year partnership in January due to a lack of trust following a string of poor results.
The former had been paired with Choong Hon Jian while the latter had formed a partnership with Mohd Haikal Nazri.
Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky has confirmed that Sze Fei and Izzuddin want to renew their partnership.
“Both Sze Fei and Izzuddin wanted to meet me before the recent Malaysian Masters to discuss getting back together but there was no time then,” said Rexy.
“But I have met them after the tournament and they told me they have seen the error of their ways and want to reunite to fight for a spot in the Olympics.
“I have informed BAM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria and he has approved.’’
Sze Fei and Izzuddin, who captured the German Open and finished runners-up in the Swiss Open in March last year, have seen their rankings drop to No. 32 after their split and will need to work their way up again to have a chance of making the cut for the Olympics.
Currently, the pairs ranked higher than them are world No. 3 Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (No. 7) and Malaysian Masters runners-up Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (No. 22).
The Olympics qualification period started last month and will end in April next year.
Sze Fei-Izzuddin have a tough task to get on the plane to Paris as a country is only allowed a maximum of two pairs, provided both are ranked in the top eight.
On their first tournament together after being reunited, Rexy said: “They will play in the Korean Open (July 18-23) and Japan Open (July 25-30).
“We will also try to get them into the World Championships (Aug 21-27) in Copenhagen.”
Meanwhile, Rexy hinted that Haikal could be reunited with his previous partner Wan Arif Wan Junaidi as well.
Haikal had split with Arif to pair up with Izzuddin while Arif had been partnered with Yap Roy King.
“I will talk to them as soon as possible on their partnerships,” said Rexy.