Millennium Post

Lin Dan to lead China's challenge in Thomas Cup

Olympic gold medallist and four-time World Champion Lin Dan will lead the Chinese men's badminton team to capture its record fifth consecutive title at the Thomas Cup starting here Sunday.

Lin is determined to grab the men's 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 world record.

World No.3 and No.4, Chen Long and Chen Jin, and doubles veterans and World No.1 Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng make China more formidable.

China share group A with last year's runners-up Indonesia and England. The top two finishers in each of the four groups will qualify for the quarterfinals.

Indonesia have won the tournament 13 times but their strength is weakened by ageing players. Olympic gold medallists Taufik Hidayat and Markis Kido/Hendra Setiawan are the same force they used to be.

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 event.

"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," Li was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
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