Men singles shuttler Takuma Euda is the new face in the Thomas Cup squad for Japan but he is game for the big challenge.
The 23-year-old Takuma is currently playing in the ongoing Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold here and showed glimpses of his fighting spirit which is crucial in the team events. He turned on a fighting display before bowing out 16-21, 24-22, 15-21 to Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the quarter-finals on Friday.
World No. 48 Takuma has been chosen ahead of the higher ranked Kazushi Yamada to join the more experienced Sho Sasaki and Kenichi Tago for the Finals in Wuhan from May 20-27.
In the doubles, Japan will boast Naoki Kawamae-Shoji Sato, Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata, Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa. All three pairs are ranked in the world’s top 16.
Takuma, who plays for the Unisys club in Japan and considers himself a late bloomer, said he may lack the experience but was not short on spunk although other top countries like Malaysia will have Mohd Hafiz Hashim, China Chen Jin, Denmark Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Indonesia Sony or Tommy Sugiarto.
Sony’s fate in the team event will be decided after the GP Gold meet.
“The pressure on me will be great if my team is levelled at 2-2 but I have enough motivation to handle the situation. I want to help my team win a medal again,” said Takuma.
“I am disappointed with my defeat to Sony here but it has whet my appetite to give better performances at the Finals.”
Japan won a bronze medal for the first time at the previous edition in Kuala Lumpur two years ago. Their most outstanding achievement was beating Malaysia for the first time in the group tie.