Badminton Life

Thomas Cup Too Far for Europe

With the European females unable to engineer a team into the final of the Uber Cup, all eyes were turned towards their male counterparts to see if the men of Europe could have any success in Indonesia.

The chances of this may have been slightly reduced to the fact that England sent out a fairly youthful and experimentational side to the Thomas Cup but with every competition comes expectations. And with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing to consider, the Thomas Cup was a great opportunity for many players to get some vital experience in playing against possible opponents they could meet later on this summer.

A lot of the hopes of European success were laid upon the Danish team and they appeared to be entering the tournament with confidence and form. Unfortunately, bad luck hit the team in the build up to the event as they lost one of their key players. It can easily be said that Kenneth Jonassen was one of Denmark's most in-form players in the build up and he was sorely missed against the Koreans.

Korea would give anyone a great game at badminton but when one of your key players is laid low with illness, it makes the task of beating them all the more difficult. That said, the Danish team did not lie down and it was an intriguing match for all concerned.

Peter Gade was quickly listed as the top Danish player in the singles event and showed this by defeating Park Sung Hwan. This match lasted over one hour and 20 minutes but it was Gade who held out in the end. His 21-19 triumph in the final set gave Denmark a string start to the tie. Following this match was a doubles event where Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen triumphed to give Denmark a 2-0 lead and the scent of possible victory.

However, this seemed to galvanise the Koreans and they bounced back strongly. Two quick singles victories levelled the tie at 2-2 and it was the experience of Lee Hyun Il and Shon Seung Mo that won the game for the Asian team. The Danish team that lost was the relatively young and inexperienced duo of Joachim Persson and Jan O Jorgensen who will have gained a lot from defeat.

Other disappointment befell the German team who were defeated 3-2 by Japan in the first round of the knock-out stage. The German ladies team managed to get to the semi-finals of the Uber Cup but there was to be no similar story for the German men.

Similar disappointment was to hit the English team but this as not a surprise given the younger nature of their squad. Victory over Nigeria raised English expectations but losing out to the host nation in the quarter finals sent the English team homewards. With the Indonesian crowd getting right behind their national heroes it was no great surprise that the English team capitulated when they did.

Just like the Uber Cup, the final of the Thomas Cup would have no European involvement with the players returning home with memories and experiences but no silverware to declare.

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