19/06/2024 05:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) -- Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) Director of Coaching, Rexy Mainaky wants the national junior and backup men's doubles pairs to follow in the footsteps of Choong Hon Jian-Muhammad Haikal Nazri, who have recently shown impressive performances in several tournaments.

 The young pair, who reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last week and the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open last month in four tournaments since May, have climbed eight places to rank 20th in the world, the highest in their career.

Hon Jian, 23, and Muhammad Haikal, 21, who were eliminated in the second round of the Malaysian Masters last month and the first round of the Indonesian Open earlier this month, are currently ranked fifth in Malaysia behind Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (world No. 5), Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (13), Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (16) and professional pair Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (18).

Rexy views this as a very positive development for the national camp, with more than three ABM men's pairs able to compete in high-level tournaments such as the World Tour Super 500, 750, and 1000.

 "We now have three senior pairs and three junior pairs who can challenge in the 500 and above tournaments. The competitiveness out  in the field is very positive.

"We hope that junior pairs such as Wan Muhammad Arif Shaharuddin Wan Junaidi-Yap Roy King and Kang Khai Xing-Aaron Tai will also push to improve their performance," he told reporters when met during a training session at ABM here today.

Rexy said that ABM has not yet made a decision on whether Hon Jian will focus on men's doubles or mixed doubles, despite currently holding the 40th ranking in the world with his partner, Go Pei Kee (in the mixed doubles).

He said that the player from Bukit Mertajam has discussed the matter with national mixed doubles coach Nova Widianto, but a decision is expected to be made towards the end of this year after evaluating his performance development and determining the more dominant event.

Meanwhile, Rexy also demanded that Hon Jian-Muhammad Haikal act more seriously and aggressively when facing top world doubles pairs, based on their performance in the 18-21, 10-21 loss to the world's eighth-ranked pair from China, He Ji Ting-Ren Xiang Yu, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Saturday.

"They were too playful. Their mistake when leading 16-14 in the first set was not applying enough pressure on the Chinese pair, despite them playing aggressively to earn more points. Hon Jian and Muhammad Haikal played too safely, which gave China the chance to exert pressure on them," he explained.


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