Lin Dan to lead China for record fifth consecutive Thomas title  
 
Published on 18/05/2012     Source : Xinhua

Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion Lin Dan will lead the Chinese men's badminton team to conquer their record fifth consecutive Thomas title at the Thomas and Uber Cup to be held here from May 20 to May 27.

Host China fields an all world top-10 line-up in its bid for a fifth consecutive title, a record only Indonesia achieved from 1994 to 2002 in the history of the Thomas Cup.

"Grand Slam" winner Lin, the first singles of China, is determined to grab the title again after helping China clinch four titles in a row in the past eight years.

"As the first singles, I will face the strongest opponent in every match and I will go all out for the title," said the 28-year-old. It will be Lin's sixth tour of the Thomas Cup. In the past five, Lin only lost one in a total of 24 matches. If he leads China to the title this time, Lin will increase his world champion trophies to 16, an all-time record worldwide.

World No. 3 and No. 4, Chen Long and Chen Jin are China's other scorers en route to champions. Men's doubles veterans and world No. 1 Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng also make China more formidable. China share group A with last runner-up Indonesia and England. The top two finishers in each of the four groups will qualify for quarterfinals.

Indonesia won the Thomas Cup 13 times before, but the team' strength is weakened by growing age. Olympic gold medalists Taufik Hidayat and Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan make less impact to China than before.

In other groups, South Korea has two high-ranking pairs, Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae(No. 2) and Ko Sung Hyun/Yoo Yeon Seong(No.4). Denmark is more balanced with singles veteran Peter Gade and doubles world No. 3 Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen.

Though China's comprehensive strength is dominant in the best of five series, head coach Li Yongbo admitted his team was under pressure ahead of the Thomas Cup, the final big tournament before July's London Olympic Games. "Home crowd will not be satisfied if we only get silver medal, and other teams will try their best to beat us, so we have to be prepared for all the possible difficulties," said Li.

Li noted the Chinese team should keep vigilant, and make in-time adjustment according to the situation on court.

 

 
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