India was clubbed with last edition’s semifinalist Thailand, Hong Kong and Canada in Group C of the Uber Cup, when the draw was made here on Sunday for the World team championship for men and women.

In the men’s Thomas Cup, India is in Group C with Malaysia, Korea and Germany. The finals commence here on May 18.

Following the league phase, two countries from each of the four groups will qualify for the quarterfinals. India is part of the 16-team field, in both sections, by virtue of being the host.

Overwhelming favourite China will be looking to win its sixth successive Thomas Cup and retaining the crown in Uber Cup.

In all, China has won the Thomas Cup nine times and Uber Cup, on 12 occasions.

Expressing satisfaction over India's draw, chief coach P. Gopi Chand said, “it could have been tougher if we were with China.

“Our women’s team should make it to the quarterfinals though Hong Kong could prove to be a tricky rival.

Thailand, with world champion Ratchanok Intanon, Porntip Buranaprasertsuk and Nichaon Jindapon (all among the top 12 players) should be the other team to qualify.”

Talking about the men’s group featuring India, Gopi marked out Malaysia (led by world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei) as the strongest contender to make it to the quarterfinals.

“Korea’s doubles team could be a serious challenge but I see a chance for us. We should be able to deal with Germany.”

Ratchanok doubtful

Meanwhile, in the $250,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open beginning here on Tuesday, women’s world champion and fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon is set to be the among the pullouts.

Though an official word will be available after the managers’ meeting on Monday evening, it is learnt that the diminutive Thai girl has stayed away due to injury.

Kenichi Tago, the men’s third seed is also among those doubtful to participate this week.

The groups: Thomas Cup (for men): Group A: Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria and Singapore. Group B: Japan, Denmark, Hong Kong and England. Group C: Malaysia, Korea, Germany and India. Group D: China, Chinese Taipei, Russia and France.

Uber Cup (for women): Group A: China, Chinese Taipei, England and Russia. Group B: Korea, Indonesia, Australia and Singapore. Group C: Thailand, India, Canada and Hong Kong. Group D: Japan, Denmark, Malaysia and Germany.

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