India will aim to make its ninth appearance among the elite nations of the badminton world a meaningful one when the action in the Thomas Cup begins next week in the Capital.

Since the inception of the premier team championships in 1948-1949, India has had its moments at the tournament.

They did have some noteworthy results in the initial editions before becoming part of the also-ran brigade.

The competition, itself, has seen several formats.

In the latest one, introduced this year, the Badminton World Federation has done away with the qualifying phase, and brought together 16 nations.

From 1949 to 1982, the competition was held every three years before the cycle was reduced to two years.

In the second edition in 1952, India finished third by upstaging European champion Denmark 6-3 in the inter-zonals.

In the nine-match tie to decide the challenger to defending champion Malaya (now Malaysia), the squad of captain Davinder Mohan, Trilok Nath Seth, Manoj Guha, Amrit Lal Dewan and Henry Ferreira, bounced back from 0-4 against USA to force the decider.

In the tie-deciding doubles, Seth and Guha led 15-7, 9-3 before losing steam.

In 1955, India, again, qualified from the Asian Zone, and went on to retain the third spot.

In the inter-zonals, India beat USA 6-3 to face Denmark for a place in the Challenge Round.

But Denmark, served by rising star Finn Kobbero, handed out a 6-3 defeat to India.

It was not until 1973 that India made it past the Asian Zone and qualified behind New Zealand and Australia. Indonesia, that topped the zone, was seeded into the semifinals.

In the five-team inter-zonal playoffs in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thailand and Denmark received byes and awaited the winner of the India-Canada clash.

India lost 5-4 to Canada in a tie that saw 17-year-old Prakash Padukone stun Jamie Paulson — after trailing 6-14 in the deciding game — and Bruce Rollick in three games.

In 1979, India topped the Asian zone to repeat its 1955 performance.

Padukone won three matches as India defeated Malaysia 5-4 to avenge the loss suffered in the previous edition.

The inter-zonal saw Denmark stop India 7-2 in the semifinals.

In 1988 and 2000, India made it to the final stage from the qualifying phase held in New Delhi.

As expected, Padukone played a decisive role in 1988 as India finished ahead of Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

However, in the eight-nation Finals, India lost 5-0 to China, 5-0 to Malaysia and 4-1 to England in the league.

In 2000, P. Gopi Chand showed the way. In the crucial match for the third place in the zonal qualification, India beat Thailand, with Gopi winning his singles and the doubles rubbers, partnering Chetan Anand.

In the Finals, India lost 4-1 to Korea, 5-1 to Denmark and 4-1 to Malaysia.

At Jaipur, in 2006, India again made the most of being the host of the Asian qualifying event. The crucial 3-2 victory over Hong Kong saw India join three others in the 12-nation Finals.

Against Hong Kong, Chetan stunned World No.12. Ng Wei before the duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas provided the lead, beating Susanto Njoto and Liu Kwok Wa 11-21, 21-18, 21-10.

In the preliminary league of the Finals, India lost 5-0 to China and beat Germany 3-2.

Similarly, in 2010, India reached the semifinals of the Asian zone to qualify.

The trio of Arvind Bhat, P. Kashyap and Anup Sridhar made it possible.

But in the Finals, India failed to go past the preliminary league, losing 4-1 to Indonesia and beating Australia 4-1.

Next week, too, India’s over-reliance on the singles could prove costly.

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