Coach Bin Shen believes there's still hope for Sze fei-Izzuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: National men's doubles coach Tan Bin Shen refuses to give up hope on world No. 22 Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani though it has been nearly eight years since they first paired up.

To put things into perspective, India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, who started their partnership around the same time as Sze Fei-Izzuddin, currently hold the world No. 1 position and are the reigning Asian Games champions.

In contrast, Izzuddin-Sze Fei, once ranked as high as No. 9, have four World Tour titles under their belts, but all from Super 300-rated tournaments or lower.

Izzuddin-Sze Fei reunited in June last year after a brief five-month split, but they continue to struggle to make an impact, raising questions about whether they have become stagnant.

In their first three starts this year, they have only reached the last 16 of the Malaysia Open and India Open before being stunned by Thai youngsters Pharanyu Khaosamaang-Worrapol Thongsanga in the first round of the Indonesia Masters last week.

Bin Shen remains optimistic that time is still on the side of the two 26-year-olds to turn things around.

"Whether they have stagnated or not, only they can truly feel it," said Bin Shen.

"From the split to reuniting as a pair, they really need to reflect on it. What do they intend to achieve with this move?

"So, I don't want to say that they can no longer push themselves further. There's still every possibility for them to rise once again.

"We, the coaches, still have faith in their ability to return to a better version of themselves."

Izzuddin-Sze Fei will have the chance to overcome the early-season disappointment by assisting Malaysia in mounting a strong challenge at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam from Feb 13-18.

Izzuddin-Sze Fei is expected to take on the second doubles role, and there are high hopes for them to contribute a crucial point.

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