Sze Fei-Izzuddin lose in Asian meet final but restore position in doubles squad

PETALING JAYA: Men’s doubles shuttlers Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani believe winning silver in the Asian Championships will be a stepping stone for them for more success.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin defied expectations to make it to the final before going down fighting 17-21, 21-15, 10-21 to home favourites and world No. 3 Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang in 64 minutes in Ningbo yesterday.

Despite the defeat, it was still an encouraging outing for the world No. 19 after they toppled South Korea’s reigning world champions Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae, Olympic gold medallists Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin of Taiwan and teammates Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik en-route to their biggest ever tournament final.

All smiles: (from left) Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, Goh Sze Fei, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik posing with their medals. — Goh Sze Fei’s FacebookAll smiles: (from left) Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, Goh Sze Fei, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik posing with their medals. — Goh Sze Fei’s Facebook

It was a remarkable turnaround for Sze Fei-Izzuddin after they suffered early-round defeats in all their individual tournaments this year prior to the Asian meet.

The rise to form is also timely and bodes well for Malaysia’s Thomas Cup Finals campaign from April 27-May 5 in Chengdu.

The pair have been selected as the second doubles behind world No. 5 Aaron-Wooi Yik and are set to play an important role for the team.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin also have the opportunity to become Malaysia’s No. 2 pair permanently if they keep up their good form.

Currently, they are behind independent pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (No. 12) and Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (No. 18) in the rankings.

Sze Fei is now determined to build on his positive showing with Izzuddin.

“While it’s natural to feel a tinge of disappointment, I choose to focus on the positives,” said Sze Fei.

“This tournament has been a challenging yet rewarding experience, pushing us to give our absolute best on court.

“Each match has taught us valuable lessons and has fuelled our determination to keep striving for excellence.

“This achievement may not be the ultimate goal we set out for but it’s a testament to our hard work, resilience and unwavering dedication.

“This is just a stepping stone in our quest for greatness and we’ll come back stronger and more determined than ever,” added Sze Fei.

Sze Fei-Izzuddin’s fine form also proved that they have answered the challenge by national coaching director Rexy Mainaky, who gave them a second chance to prove themselves.

The duo were split up last year by Rexy after hitting a plateau.

Izzuddin was paired up with Mohd Haikal Nazri in March last year, while Sze Fei was combined with Choong Hon Jian.

However, in May, Rexy brought them back together and they have been on fire since, and even won the US Open, Kaohsiung Masters, and Abu Dhabi Masters last year.

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