Malaysian shuttlers seek Thomas Cup fame at home

10:07, May 14, 2010      

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The hosts Malaysians are looking forward to repeating their fame of the 1992 Thomas Cup victory at home by going through reigning champions China in the semifinals at Putra Stadium on Friday.

The last time that Malaysia crowned at the men's badminton team tournament was in 1992 when they edged out China in the semifinals before beating Indonesia in the final at home.

"We beat them 18 years ago, then it is also possible for us to make a second time now," said Rashid Sidek, the chief singles coach of Malaysia, who contributed the first point to the hosts by a surprising win over China's "Badminton King" Zhao Jianhua in the first singles clash in the 1992 edition.

Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese team now, partnered Tian Bingyi, the current national doubles coach, in that supreme semifinals, losing at the first doubles match.

"I am always regretting that I lost that point," said Li. "But now my boys are stronger and better than me, so I am confident that they can win the game, also for me in some way."

China, looking for their fourth straight title here just as 18 years ago, are probably in one of their best times with Olympic and world champion Lin Dan and youngster Chen Jin playing as the singles, added by 2006 All England champion Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng and Guo Zhendong/Xu Chen. And if necessary, veteran Bao Chunlai could be the man to seal the victory.

For the Malaysian side, it might be all depending on the world’s top-ranked single Lee Chong Wei and the world's No. 1 doubles Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong.

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