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.
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.
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.
Gwangju: South Korea mixed doubles pair got off to a good start for the host country when Shin Seung-Chan and Kim Gi-jung defeated Chiang Kai-Hsin and Lu Ching-Yao of Chinese Taipei 21-14, 21-11 at Hwasun Hanium Culture Sports Center in Hwasun, South Jeolla Province, Korea, to pick up the first gold medal for Korea in the badminton individual event. Last Wednesday, South Korea won the badminton mixed team gold medal at the Universiade.
Son Wan-ho loses to Jeon Hyeok-Jin (right) in the 2015 Universiade men's singles final.