Defending champions China looked the pick of their groups as the Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals draws unfolded today in New Delhi, India.
In the Thomas Cup (the Men’s World Team Badminton Championships), China is bracketed alongside Chinese Taipei, France and Russia, making the nine-time champions favourites to top Group D.
China’s women are in a near-identical group in the Uber Cup (the Women’s World Team Badminton Championships). The title favourites are in the company of Chinese Taipei, England and Russia in Group A. The Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals will be held in India for the very first time, from 18-25 May, 2014, at Siri Fort Complex, New Delhi.
Sixteen nations each in the men’s and women’s sections who qualified for the Finals were split into four groups during the draw ceremony. The two top teams from each group will progress to the elimination round.
Indonesia, which has won 13 Thomas Cup titles – the most by any nation – is in Group A, with Nigeria, Singapore and Thailand. Group B and Group C are likely to be closely fought: Group B has Denmark, England, Hong Kong and Japan while Group C has Germany, India, Korea and Malaysia.
In the Uber Cup, 2010 champions Korea must grapple with three-time champions Indonesia as well as Australia and Singapore. Group C could be interesting with Canada, Hong Kong, India and Thailand. Group D may also be a tight finish, featuring Denmark, Germany, Japan and Malaysia.
Speaking at the draw ceremony this afternoon, Badminton Association of India President Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta emphasised the association’s ability to successfully organise major international events, noting “India plays host to a Superseries, a Grand Prix Gold and an International Challenge every year and all the players look forward to enjoying our hospitality and support.
“Indian players have shown the world they can challenge and beat the best. The Thomas and Uber Cup will give them an opportunity to take this challenge forward in front of the home crowd.”
Meanwhile, BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund conveyed his best wishes to the hosts – BAI – and all participating teams.
“The Thomas and Uber Cups are two of the most prestigious tournaments in the annals of badminton and the honour and pride of team glory for one’s country is unparalleled,” Lund said.
“This year the BWF is pleased to write another chapter in its history with the hosting of the Li-Ling BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in India for the first time ever and we are confident of a successful and enjoyable Finals. India has a flourishing badminton community and we urge the fans to join us in this celebration of badminton, showcasing the best players in the world – vying for the men’s and women’s team championships.”
Click here, for the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup draws.