Sze Fei to partner Hon Jian after split

KUALA LUMPUR: It looks like Goh Sze Fei does not have to wait too long for a new partner.

National doubles coaching director Rexy Mainaky has identified Hon Jian, 22, as a new teammate for Sze Fei following his recent split with Nur Izzuddin Rumsani, whom he partnered for seven years.

However, Rexy said further discussion is needed with Hon Jian as well as mixed doubles department handler Nova Widianto to find out if the player is up for the double duty.

"I can say that the Sze Fei-Hon Jian partnership is 80-90% confirmed," said Rexy today.

"I'll need to talk to Nova first. But based on the assessments from Tan Bin Shen (men's doubles) and Hoon Thien How (women's doubles), they both agreed that Sze Fei and Hon Jian make a good partnership.

"During the recent training match play, Sze Fei-Hon Jian even defeated Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun (world No 25)."

Rexy believes that Hon Jian's strong offensive play would complement Sze Fei well as the latter is a playmaker who plays mostly on the front court.

Hon Jian will surely be relishing the opportunity after failing to make an impression since joining the senior team in 2019. He has played men's doubles with Wei Chong and Chen Tang Jie, but not on a permanent basis.

In mixed doubles, Hon Jian did well to win three back-to-back events with Toh Ee Wei in 2021, but the partnership did not last.

He has since played with no less than four different partners with the latest being Yap Ling.

As for Izzuddin's next step, Rexy remained tightlipped but has promised to make a decision latest by next Tuesday.

Rexy also assured that he has no plans to split Wei Chong-Kai Wun, who will now be the second highest-ranked combination, as part of the reshuffling process.

The other pairs in the squad are world champions Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Haikal Nazri-Wan Arif Junaidi, Goh Boon Zhe-Beh Chun Meng, Chia Wei Jie-Liew Xun, Fazriq Razif-Wong Vin Sean.

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