Three former world top five shuttlers are among those conspicuously absent from the entries for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals while another seven have been chosen ahead of higher-ranked compatriots.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) made public today the entry lists for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, which will be held later this month in New Delhi, India. There were few surprises – particularly in light of preliminary reports in local media about individual teams – but among the decisions that strayed from simple decisions based on world rankings were a few involving former members of the elite top five in the world.
The biggest deviation from simple ranking-based selections is to be seen in the contingents for Team China, current holder of both Cups. Yu Yang is not on the Uber Cup squad while reigning Olympic champions Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei are being sent, leaving world #7 Luo Ying / Luo Yu at home.
Lin Dan’s inclusion on the Chinese Thomas Cup team was announced several weeks ago but a more recent development is the selection of only one half of the current Olympic champion men’s doubles pair. Fu Haifeng will be in New Delhi without Cai Yun. Although Cai/Fu are not among China’s top four pairs according to current rankings and they have reached only one final together since winning gold in London, both have been in Superseries finals this year with younger partners. Lin Dan takes the spot not of China’s #4 shuttler but of current world #7 Wang Zhengming.
Malaysia’s Thomas Cup singles selection exhibits little influence of current world rankings as former world #10 Liew Daren was chosen ahead of 3 higher-ranked shuttlers and world #135 Goh Soon Huat ahead of nine such, although neither Liew nor Goh has a ranking based on a full set of ten tournaments. Also playing for Malaysia will be former world #1 Tan Boon Heong, as well as former mixed doubles world #3 Chan Peng Soon. Thailand, too, is drawing on the experience and talent of it mixed stars as Sudket Prapakamol and Saralee Thoungthongkam are on their respective teams to form some potentially interesting scratch level doubles pairings.
Indonesia had two former top five shuttlers among their four highest-ranked men’s singles shuttlers but only Simon Santoso will be playing in India, as Sony Dwi Kuncoro – who has played only one international match this year – stays home. Korea’s former world #1 Lee Hyun Il began a measured comeback last year but was never back in the national team and was not being considered for the Thomas Cup team, even before sustaining the injury that saw him leave the New Zealand Open early and withdraw from Korea’s Summer Championships last week.
Japan is sending former world #3 Shizuka Matsuo / Mami Naito ahead of five higher-ranked pairs though none of the six have a ranking based on ten tournaments. Former world #9 Ella Diehl will also be appearing for Russia, the European Women’s Team runner-up. Meanwhile, the Pan Am region’s only entry, the Canadian Uber Cup team, will be without both women’s singles finalists from its national championships, including All England quarter-finalist and Macau Open runner-up Michelle Li.
* At the time of writing, the Thomas Cup entries for Denmark and the Uber Cup lists for England and Chinese Taipei were still unavailable