Malaysia avoid Koreans in Thomas Cup draw


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia avoided South Korea in the preliminary round for the Thomas Cup Finals when the draw was made yesterday. But the hosts may meet up with the Koreans when a new draw is made after the preliminary rounds.

This year, a new format is being introduced in the Thomas Cup Finals to keep alive the suspense and excitement in the world premier event, which will take place at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from May 9-16.

For the knockout stage, a fresh draw will be held.

Previously, the draw was held only once, where by all three teams from each of the four groups progressed to the next stage.

This time, only the top two teams from each group qualify for the knockout stage (quarter-finals) and a new draw will be conducted.

All the four group champions will be seeded with the top two seeded teams separated into the two halves. A draw will determine the placing of the third and fourth seeded teams. The fifth-eight seeded teams will also be drawn to determine their places in the last-eight stage.

Yesterday, in a draw ceremony conducted by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) here for the 12-team group stage, third seeds Malaysia received a relatively easy passage to the last-eight after they were lumped in Group B with Japan and Nigeria.

China will have South Korea and Peru for company in Group A while all the three European countries – Denmark, Germany and Poland are drawn together in Group C.

Indonesia should come out tops in Group D ahead of India and Australia.

In the Uber Cup Finals, Malaysia are in Group A with defending champions China and United States and should make the quarter-finals as one of the top two teams.

National chief coach Rexy Mainaky said the new format would raise the element of suspense and excitement in the knockout stage.

“In the preliminary round of the Thomas Cup, Malaysia should get the better of Japan. We face a challenge from them in the second doubles tie,” said Rexy.

“But once the group stage is over, the new format will keep everyone guessing as to who their opponents will be in the elimination round. This is good for the sport.

“It will also prevent teams from manipulating the format to determine who they want to meet in the quarter-finals.”

At the last Finals in Indonesia, South Korea lost all their group matches in order to avoid the stronger team in the knock-out stage.

Malaysia last won the Thomas Cup in 1992 at Stadium Negara.


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