Thomas Cup: Malaysia to focus fully on Japan following England’s withdrawal

by BERNAMA / pic credit: bwfthomasubercups.bwfbadminton.com

AARHUS (Denmark) – With England now out of the equation, the national men’s badminton team will focus fully on Japan when the Thomas Cup Finals begin at the Ceres Arena, here, on Saturday (Oct 9).

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Zakaria, however, said they will not revise the team’s quarter-final target despite England’s withdrawal.

Badminton England, through a brief statement on their website last night, announced their withdrawal from the prestigious tournament, citing injuries to three of their four selected singles players, making them ‘unable to field a competitive team’ in the tournament.

The last-minute pullout left 2018 runners-up Japan, Malaysia and Canada in Group D. The top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout stage.

Mohamad Norza, while expressing sympathy for the English team, said he wanted the young national shuttlers to continue the fine momentum of winning bronze at the recent mixed team Sudirman Cup tournament in Vantaa, Finland.

“We feel that England’s withdrawal is not a big advantage for Malaysia, so we will focus fully on Japan. We have to be realistic about our target as our players have gone through a lot of matches in the Sudirman Cup.

“It may have left them a little fatigued and I do not think it’s right to revise the target as we don’t want to put pressure on them.

“I think our players and coaches know the kind of performances expected from them, not only by BAM, but also by the fans, so they must fight to the end,” he said when contacted.

He also pointed out that the young players, who are mostly making their debut in the three team championships – Sudirman Cup, Thomas Cup and Uber Cup – have huge responsibilities on their shoulders.

However, he expects that to make them better players.

“Apart from the high expectations, the young players also need to have the endurance to play in back-to-back tournaments. I am especially confident that our Thomas Cup team can go far in the tournament this time,” said Mohamad Norza.

In the Sudirman Cup, which ended on Sunday (Oct 3), the young Malaysian shuttlers put up some commendable performances, especially en route to upsetting arch rivals Indonesia 3-2 in the quarter-finals to equal the country’s previous best achievement of reaching the semi-finals in the 2009 edition in Guangzhou, China.