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New Delhi to host 2014 Thomas, Uber Cups

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Indian badminton is in extremely good health. The country’s shuttlers are consistently making all and sundry sit up and take notice be it the men or the women shuttlers.

Saina Nehwal has taken world women’s badminton by storm and the manner in which she takes on the might of the Chinese has won her international fame. Parupalli Kashyap is not far behind. The Indian won his first international singles crown last year and then went on to achieve a career-high ranking of eight.

Even the likes PV Sindhu, Ajay Jayaram, RMV Gurusaidutt, Sourabh Varma, Anand Pawar, B Sai Praneeth, K Srikanth and HS Pranoy have been making their mark in various international tourneys.

Clearly, India’s stock as a badminton-playing nation has indeed soared in recent years. Taking cognizance of the country’s stature in the world of badminton, the world body – World Badminton Federation (WBF) – has allotted New Delhi the 2014 Thomas Cup and Uber Cup tournaments.

It may be pertinent to mention that this seven-decade-old world event will be held for the first time in India. According to Badminton Association of India (BAI) sources, a final stamp of confirmation will be put by WBF when their officials visit New Delhi later this month.

It’s worth recalling that the Thomas Cup (world men’s team championship)  was  started in 1948-49, while the Uber Cup (world women’s team championships) was started in 1956-57 – both are the oldest and the most prestigious international tournaments staged by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

In a significant first, the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup tourneys would be played in a new format from 2014 onwards. The BWF decided to eliminate the earlier way of holding preliminaries –continental preliminaries were held across different places and 12 teams made it to the final.

The New Delhi edition would only feature finals with 16 countries taking part. 14 teams will make the cut on the basis of their world rankings and they will be joined by the defending champions and the hosts. These tournaments would witness a minimum of three teams from Asia, three from Europe and the highest ranked teams from Pan America, Africa and Oceania Continental Confederations.

It is learnt that India bagged these major events not just because of the impressive manner in which they conducted international events over the years, but also because Indian shuttlers have been able to turn in outstanding performances in high-profile tourneys on a regular basis.

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