Next stop Paris, says Sze Fei who is reunited with Nur Izzuddin

KUALA LUMPUR – National men’s doubles player Goh Sze Fei is ready to run the gamut in his second lease of life with partner Nur Izzuddin Rumsani by adopting a more aggressive stance in the next tournament.

Sze Fei said their first partnership which teetered on brinksmanship has mellowed after considerable past experience and he was thus determined to make sure their partnership is more enduring this time around.

Without revealing much about who initiated the move to reunite after splitting up four months ago, Sze Fei said the moment of reunification with Nur Izzuddin started last week and thankfully everything was finalised this week.

“It doesn’t matter who started first (to bury the hatchet), the important thing is that we must persevere together.

“Our main focus would be on the 2024 Olympic Games, I think the chemistry with Nur Izzuddin is good because we have been partners for a long time…Since we have the same target, we will gung-ho try,” he said after today’s training session here.

Sze Fei at the same time hopes he can further improve on the communication aspect with Nur Izzuddin to ensure that past grievances between them do not resurface.

The 25-year-old player also greatly appreciates the blessing from the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) for him and Nur Izzuddin to be paired up again, four months after announcing their separation (January).

Since winning the 2022 German Open, the pair have been struggling to maintain their consistency, including first-round exits at two tournaments earlier this year, namely the Malaysian Open and India Open.

BAM then reshuffled the three national pairs after Nur Izzuddin decided to break up with Sze Fei, citing a loss of trust.

The situation meant that Muhammad Haikal Nazri, who had previously teamed up with Wan Muhammad Arif Wan Junaidi since 2019, had to be broken up (with Arif) to make way for him to team up with Nur Izzuddin.

Wan Muhammad Arif was then paired with Yap Roy King while Sze Fei formed a combination with Choong Hon Jian.

In the meantime, Sze Fei said he had apologised to Hon Jian for having to leave him to go back to Nur Izzuddin.

“Thank you for the opportunity to learn something from him (Choong). We have discussed (the separation) and he may be feeling down, so I apologised to him,” he said.

Since being paired up last March, Sze Fei-Hon Jian have only played together in three tournaments with their best achievement being runner-up in the 2023 Thailand International Challenge after losing to the host pair of Chaloemopon Charoenkitamorn-Nanthakarn Yordphaisong, 21-15, 15-21. 22-24.

Asked how he and Nur Izzuddin would overcome the fierce opposition from other countries to reach the ultimate in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, Sze Fei said they were instead happy to parry the healthy competition with their countrymen.

In addition to defending world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik and professional men’s doubles Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi, the 2023 Malaysian Masters runners-up Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun are among the potential pairs to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Each country can send two representatives (pairs) for each doubles event if they are ranked in the top eight, while only one representative (one pair) is allowed if they are ranked ninth to 50th in the qualification stage for the Olympic Games which will run from May 1, 2023 to April 28, 2024. – Bernama