JAKARTA: South Korea admitted it threw its Thomas Cup match against England on Monday, plunging the elite tournament into controversy and overshadowing China’s continued march towards the title.
The Koreans, who have emerged as a powerful force in men’s badminton, lost 4-1 after fielding a weakened team, with Asian champion Park Sung-Hwan and Korean Open winner Lee Hyun-Il playing doubles together instead of singles.
Team manager Kim Jong-Soo said their tactics were to avoid winning their group to ensure a more favourable quarterfinal draw.
“We formulated a strategy before we arrived where we want to meet Denmark in the quarterfinals, and that means not finishing top of the group,” he said.
“The Badminton World Federation (BWF) created these rules, but I’d much prefer having the two top automatically qualify for the quarterfinals.”
China routs Canada
The controversy overshadowed China racing to a 5-0 win over Canada to follow up their whitewash of Nigeria on the opening day. The two victories ensure they receive a bye to the quarter-finals.
World No. 1 Lin Dan was again in fine touch as he cantered past Andrew Dabeka 21-11, 21-15, while Bao Chunlai eased to a 21-14, 21-8 victory over Bobby Milroy.
Olympic and Asiad champion Taufik Hidayat bounced back from his shock opening day defeat to beat Dieter Domke 21-10, 21-16 as Indonesia hammered Germany 5-0 for last eight place.
China’s women were also firing in the parallel Uber Cup. World No. 1 Xie Xingfang, Zhu Lin, and Jiang Yanjiao all easily won their singles matches to help the defending champions reach the knockout round.
Thomas Cup: Japan bt New Zealand 5-0; England South Korea 4-1; China bt Canada 5-0; Indonesia bt Germany 5-0.
Uber Cup: Netherlands bt Japan 3-2; Hong Kong bt South Africa 5-0.