Generational Shift Will Be Visible in Aarhus

Li and Liu have delivered for China in the Major Events.

Having briefly relinquished their hold in recent times on the three major team titles – the Thomas Cup, the Uber Cup and the Sudirman Cup – badminton heavyweights China turned to a new generation of shuttlers to reclaim glory.

After a gap of four years, the Thomas Cup was won again in 2018, taking away some of the sting off their Uber Cup semifinal loss – the first time ever that China failed to make the final.

And then, in May 2019 came a significant accomplishment. China won back the Sudirman Cup with a team that wasn’t reckoned as the favourites. Now the Thomas Cup and Sudirman Cup holders will look to retake the Uber Cup when the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 begin next May in Aarhus.

What was noteworthy about both the Thomas Cup and Sudirman Cup triumphs was the role of China’s post-Rio 2016 generation: Shi Yu Qi, Chen Yu Fei, Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen. All of them were in the shadows of senior compatriots during the run-up to Rio 2016.

Over the rest of 2019, we will see a clutch of youngsters being primed for the big contests. Chen Yu Fei, just 21, is expected to be at the head of China’s women’s challenge, leading younger players like Han Yue, Cai Yan Yan and Chen Xiao Xin. In doubles too, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, despite being seasoned campaigners, are only 22. Compatriots on their on their heels – most of them younger – are Du Yue/Li Yin Hui, Li Wen Mei/Zheng Yu and Liu Xuan Xuan/Xia Yu Ting. Lu Guang Zu has also shown promise and will look to follow in Shi Yu Qi’s footsteps.

China have been the most successful of all the teams in transitioning their younger generation into world-beaters across all five categories.

Other countries have had mixed success. Indonesia, for instance, have come to rely on youthful players like Jonatan Christie (21), Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (23) and Gregoria Mariska Tunjung (20), but their progress has been somewhat inconsistent, at least in the team events. With sufficient experience, they will now be expected by their teams to flower to full potential.

Gregoria Mariska Tunjung will look to shake off her inconsistency.

Korea are pinning their hopes on 17-year-old schoolgirl An Se Young, who was in the news at the last Uber Cup for seeing the team through to the semifinals. Korea also have emerging stars in women’s doubles – Baek Ha Na, Kim Hye Rin, Kong Hee Yong – who are expected to mature in time for the Uber Cup and beyond. However, in men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles, Korea haven’t struck gold in recent times.

Denmark have had success in men’s singles (Anders Antonsen, Rasmus Gemke following Viktor Axelsen), but (as yet) no comparable generation taking over in the doubles.

An Se Young – Korea’s brightest prospect, and just 17 years old

Other countries, like Thailand, India and Malaysia, similarly have had relatively modest success in throwing up fresh talent at the top level. Thailand will look to Kantaphon Wangcharoen, while India will be enthused by the Thailand Open win over Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (19) and Chirag Shetty (22). Malaysia’s hopes are pinned on Lee Zii Jia (21), but he will know he has big shoes to fill following the retirement of Lee Chong Wei.

For Japan, some of the members of the 2014 Thomas and Uber Cup teams that heralded their new wave (Kento Momota, Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi) are now the senior pros in their squads and have lit the path for younger players to follow.

It will be interesting to see how many of the senior pros continue to stay on top of their game in the months and weeks leading up to the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020. With Tokyo 2020 around the corner after the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals, there is plenty at stake for even the veterans to stay ahead of younger challengers.

Thomas & Uber Cup News

TUC 2020 Postponed; Denmark Open to Proceed

TUC 2020 Postponed; Denmark Open to Proceed

15 September 2020
Update on TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020

Update on TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020

12 September 2020
Herbert Scheele’s Thomas Cup Story

Herbert Scheele’s Thomas Cup Story

3 September 2020
BWF Ready for the Return to International Badminton

BWF Ready for the Return to International Badminton

28 August 2020
BWF Announces Adjusted Tournament Calendar for 2020

BWF Announces Adjusted Tournament Calendar for 2020

27 August 2020
TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 Draw

TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 Draw

3 August 2020
On This Day: China Lift Thomas Cup at First Time of Asking

On This Day: China Lift Thomas Cup at First Time of Asking

21 May 2020
Flashback: TUC 2018 – China’s Young Guns Come Good

Flashback: TUC 2018 – China’s Young Guns Come Good

21 May 2020
Flashback: TUC 2018 – Japan’s Well-Earned Triumph

Flashback: TUC 2018 – Japan’s Well-Earned Triumph

18 May 2020
New Dates for TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Finals 2020

New Dates for TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Finals 2020

29 April 2020
Update on TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020

Update on TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020

7 April 2020
Conrad-Petersen to Bid Adieu After Thomas Cup

Conrad-Petersen to Bid Adieu After Thomas Cup

27 March 2020
TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020 Postponed

TOTAL BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2020 Postponed

20 March 2020
On This Day: USA Ace First Ever Uber Cup Final

On This Day: USA Ace First Ever Uber Cup Final

18 March 2020
French Stint Aids Honderich & Tsai

French Stint Aids Honderich & Tsai

5 March 2020
Indonesia, Japan Top-Seeded for TUC

Indonesia, Japan Top-Seeded for TUC

4 March 2020
Russia’s TUC Withdrawal Opens Door for Germany, Spain

Russia’s TUC Withdrawal Opens Door for Germany, Spain

2 March 2020
Qi Xuefei Inspired by ‘Role Model’ Pi Hongyan

Qi Xuefei Inspired by ‘Role Model’ Pi Hongyan

29 February 2020
On This Day: Underdogs Malaya Become Inaugural Thomas Cup Champs

On This Day: Underdogs Malaya Become Inaugural Thomas Cup Champs

26 February 2020
Flashback: Unfancied Mexicans Defy Expectations, Qualify for First Thomas Cup

Flashback: Unfancied Mexicans Defy Expectations, Qualify for First Thomas Cup

23 February 2020
TUC 2020 Lineup is Complete!

TUC 2020 Lineup is Complete!

20 February 2020
Flawless Denmark Issue Rivals Stark Warning

Flawless Denmark Issue Rivals Stark Warning

17 February 2020
On This Day: Betty Uber Wins 50th Straight International

On This Day: Betty Uber Wins 50th Straight International

14 February 2020
Update on Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020

Update on Badminton Asia Team Championships 2020

11 February 2020
Aarhus Awaits the World

Aarhus Awaits the World

6 February 2020
The Legacy of Frank Peard, First Thomas Cupper

The Legacy of Frank Peard, First Thomas Cupper

7 October 2019
Flashback: Vittinghus Heroics Win Thomas Cup for Denmark

Flashback: Vittinghus Heroics Win Thomas Cup for Denmark

5 September 2019
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