• Japan out to prove they are a force to be reckoned with (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: A fantastic showing by the men’s doubles shuttlers at the Korean Open last week, has raised Japan’s hope of putting in another strong challenge to the more fancied teams in the Thomas Cup Finals in New Delhi in May.

    Last week, their world No. 6 Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa went down fighting 20-22, 20-22 to eventual champions Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the semi-finals. Keita Masuda: ' If our players can maintain their form until April, we may get a better seeding than Malaysia or Indonesia for the (Thomas Cup) Finals.'

    Their younger compatriots Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda, the world No. 15th, dumped second seeds Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang of South Korea in the opening round.

    National coach Keita Masuda believes they have enough depth to challenge all the teams, including Malaysia at the Finals.

    “Our senior and junior doubles players did well at the Korean Open and that augurs well ahead of the world team competition. We have strong men’s singles and doubles this time,” he said.

  • Doubles pair wary of chill factor in Korea (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: National men’s doubles champion Tan Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How will be fighting on two fronts when they start their campaign in the Korean Open on Wednesday.

    On Saturday, the duo and compatriots Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem left for Seoul for the season opener of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Super Series.

    The 24-year-old Wee Kiong said their opening round match would be “treacherous”.

    “The weather in Seoul is below 13°C. It is really cold. On top of that, we have a tricky opening match against an upcoming pair from China (Kang Jun-Liu Cheng). We cannot take them lightly.

    “We have to balance our act. We have to adapt to the cold condition and also stay on guard against the Chinese pair,” said Wee Kiong.

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