Badminton Life

Chinese Cannot Be Beaten, Says Realistic Korean Coach

With China fielding a powerful team for the Uber Cup, other sides have practically given up on hopes of beating them.

South Korean coach Kim Hak-kyun told journalists recently that he believes the Chinese women are unbeatable.

While the Chinese men will probably face tougher competition in the Thomas Cup, their women's team are unlikely to be troubled during their Uber Cup defence, according to Kim.

"We are not scared of anyone and will fight to win every point, but in the Uber Cup China's women are much too strong for any team here," he said, despite watching his team thrash South Africa 5-0 in their opening match.

The Chinese team are vying for their sixth consecutive Uber Cup victory, having already won it 10 times.

They are led by world number one Xie Xingfang, world champion Zhu Lin and All England runner-up Lu Lan in the women's singles. They did not even need the services of Olympic champion Zhang Ning.

As for the Thomas Cup, Kim said the competition could result in a few surprises for the Chinese team.

He said: "I believe there are four teams who can beat China - Korea, Malaysia, Denmark and Indonesia. They all have players capable of winning this tournament.

"But, given the home crowd, you would have to see Indonesia as having the best chance."

The Thomas Cup have only had three winners since its inception in 1948, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Denmark are consistently the leading European team but, while they have produced outstanding singles players in the past, such as Morten Frost and Peter Gade, they have never possessed enough depth to challenge the Asian countries.

Indonesia could also be a surprise package in the Uber Cup. They have already caused on upset by beating Japan 4-1 in their opening Group Z tie.

Japan's leading singles player Eriko Hirose earned the only point for her country when she beat Maria Kristin 9-21, 22-20, 22-20 in the first singles.

Japan are considered one of only two teams, the Koreans being the other, to be able to give China a fight.

However, defeat to Indonesia means they will have a tough path to the final.

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