Guess who’s coming to Aarhus…

All five continental championships are done, the new rankings are up, and it’s time to take a look at who will be the lucky 32 teams who will descend on […]

All five are done, the new rankings are up, and it’s time to take a look at who will be the lucky 32 teams who will descend on Aarhus, Denmark in May to compete for the Uber and Thomas Cups.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

For both the , 8 Asian teams are expected to be among the 16 competitors, along with 5 teams from Europe and one each from Africa, Oceania, and the Pan Am region.  Normally Europe and Asia are each entitled to send all four semi-finalists from their respective continental team championship tournament; however, this year, Europe gets one extra because hosts Denmark won the European crown in both the men’s and women’s division.

Asia, meanwhile, gets one extra competitor for each Cup since Asian teams won both of them in 2018.  In addition, the 3 remaining spots are filled by the highest-ranked other teams not already qualified by other means and all 3 for both genders are in Asia.  This year, the highest-ranked non-Asian team other than Denmark was Canada’s women’s team, which is 10th strongest in the world, a mere 6000 points behind the Malaysians.

As a result, all of the non-Asian teams, other than the automatically qualified hosts, were banking on their results at the continental team championships.  In Europe, the lowest ranked team to sneak a peak at Aarhus is the Scottish women’s team.  With only one player holding more than 10,000 points, the Scots were not even in the top 20 but they fought their way into the final four in France and secured their ticket to Denmark.

The Scottish ladies were among the many who were called upon to show their versatility.  Julie Macpherson (pictured above) played doubles with no fewer than three partners, in addition to playing singles, and she wasn’t beaten until the semis, when Germany’s Ann-Kathrin Spöri bested her in 3 games.

Among the European men, the outsiders were the team that ended up in the final against Denmark on Sunday.  Team Netherlands were ranked behind Denmark, both bronze medallist teams, as well as England and Germany.  The Germans, despite being 3rd among Europeans on the composite world ranking, will have to sit out the Thomas Cup Finals.

Of course, there was some misfortune when it came to the qualifying this year.  Hong Kong’s two teams were barred from competing in Manila along with the other Asians because of a travel ban on its residents imposed by the Philippine government a week before the event, amid fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.  Nigeria, which had won two continental mixed team titles in 2019, was unable to field its men’s or women’s teams as the players did not receive visas to travel to Egypt until just before the All Africa Individual Championships, a day before the team event finals.  As it was, Algeria played in both African finals, won the men’s title and was beaten by Egypt in the women’s.

The Hong Kong men’s team was beaten out by Thailand in Manila.  The Thais did not reach the semis at the event but their composite ranking inched up just enough to surpass their Hong Kong counterparts, who remained at a standstill.  The composite ranking is the sum of the current world ranking points from a BWF member association’s top 3 singles players and top 2 doubles pairs.  18-year-old Kunlavut Vitidsarn (pictured right) won both his matches last week and raised his ranking total by 2,000 points and his veteran team-mates Bodin Isara / Maneepong Jongjit did the same.

Vitidsarn was far from the busiest teenager last week.  Canada’s Brian Yang (pictured bottom) featured in all four ties for Canada and in the final, he contributed wins in both singles and doubles as Canada beat Mexico 3-1.

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @