Chinese shuttlers eyes sweep of Thomas/Uber Cup

14:25, May 09, 2010      

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The Chinese male shuttlers have to push themselves to the best on their way to the fourth straight win at Thomas Cup while their women compatriots are supposed to face little resistance to a seventh victory at Uber Cup in a line.

"We are here to fight for the titles instead of securing them, especially for the men's team," said China head coach Li Yongbo just before the 20-athlete squad headed to the capital city of Malaysia on Wednesday.

The Chinese are among the best teams in the history of the Thomas and Uber Cup, the world top titles in men's and women's team badminton, with the men crowned seven wins out of 14 appearances in total and the women 11 times out of 13 attempts.

The men's team led by world No. 2 Lin Dan has been considered as the strongest group and thus is placed the top favorite of the 26th edition of Thomas Cup to be unveiled on Sunday.

"It is true that we vie only for the first, and I understand that a second would be posed as a failure for us," said Li Yongbo.

On the other hand, he refused to look down on the opponents and stayed cautious in the prospect, indicating that his team have to prepare for any possible difficulties here at the Malaysian home field.

The Malaysian team headed by the current world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has set its sight on the final while the southeast Asian country is expecting her sons to keep the Cup for the first time after their last win also at home in 1992.

"Every Malaysian people is expecting us to win the title," said Lee, admitting that the high expectation had also brought them high pressure, which might be an important reason for the Malaysian men shuttlers to win once out of seven attempts as a host.

"We are close to China, and for me, the key point now is to prepare well mentally," said Lee.

The other trophy contenders are Indonesia, South Korea and Denmark.

As for the Uber Cup, China appeared to be too strong for its opponents, with the four single players all in world's top 5 and the main doubles also leading the world rankings.

The only "weak" point seems to be the lack of experience as seven girls out of 10 are rookies in the tournament, and none of them has ever played a main position in their four attempts in total in the Uber Cup.

"I know it is a risk to send so many young players, but it will also be risky to send those considered as experienced ones," said Li Yongbo. "So why not give the youngsters a chance?"

The 26th Thomas Cup and 23rd Uber Cup, featuring 12 teams each, are scheduled from May 9 to 16 at the Putra Stadium.

Source: Xinhua


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