Thomas & Uber Cup - Final Stage draw
The countdown to IBF's premier team events, the Thomas & Uber Cups kicked off earlier today when the draw was made in Kuala Lumpur. The draw took place at the offices of EON in KL, distributors of Proton cars in Malaysia, and sponsors of the Malaysian team. Representatives from Proton and Gold Bridge (main sponsors of the event) were also in attendance. In the Thomas Cup, current holders Indonesia are top seeds and will face China, England and Sweden in the Yellow Group in the first round. Always the bridesmaid in this event, Denmark has reached every single Final Stage of the Thomas Cup, but has never managed to walk away with the title. As second seeds, maybe this time it will be their turn - first they will have to get past hosts Malaysia, Korea and India in the Blue Group. Mrs Mahathir, wife of the Malayisan Prime Minister and patron of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, made the first draw for the Uber Cup. Judging by their current form, China as holders and top seeds in this event look almost certain to take the title again in KL this year. Drawn in the Purple Group they will need to get past Korea, Netherlands and Sweden if they are to stay on course for the Uber Cup title. They have a formidable record in this event, reaching the Final Stage in eight of their total nine competitions, and taking the trophy on seven of those occasions. In the Pink Group, Denmark are the top seeds and will be pushing for a first European win in this event - they face Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Group stage of both competitions will be played from 11-16 May, after which the semi-finals will be played in which (in the Thomas Cup) the winners from Blue Group will play the runners-up from Yellow Group, and the winners from Yellow Group will play the runners-up of the Blue Group. In the Uber Cup, the winners of Pink Group will face the runner-up of Purple Group, and Purple Group winners will play Pink Group runners-up. The successful teams to emerge from the semi-finals will contest the Final for their respective title and Cup. The Men's and Ladies' World Team Badminton Championships for the Thomas & Uber Cups are IBF's oldest events.