The Jakarta Post (http://www.thejakartapost.com) Fri, 02/12/2010 12:13 PM Indonesia’s Uber Cup squad drawn in tough pool By Agnes Winarti , Jakarta The country’s Uber Cup shuttlers face tougher prospects than their male Thomas Cup compatriots in the upcoming Asia Zone qualifiers in Thailand as they are placed in the same group with top teams such as South Korea and Thailand. According to the Thursday’s drawing for the Thomas and Uber Cups Asia Zone qualifier, which is avalable on the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC)’s official website www.badmintonasia.org, the female teams are drawn into two pools (X and Y), while the male into four pools (A, B, C, D). Of the 10 countries participating in the Uber Cup Asia Zone qualifier, third seed Indonesia is drawn with first seed South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka in Group X, while second seed Japan, fourth seed Hongkong, Taiwan, India and the Philippines are drawn for Group Y. “South Korea and Thailand will be our hardest opponents, while on paper we will be able to overcome Singapore and Sri Lanka,” Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) head coach Christian Hadinata said Thursday of the drawing announcement. South Korea’s two women’s doubles pairs of Ha Jung Eun/Kim Min Jung and Lee Hyo Jung/Lee Kyung Won are ranked 5th and 6th in the world. Thailand has steadily risen as emerging badminton giant as its shuttlers, Salakjit Ponsana and Ratchanok Intanon grabbed gold and silver medals respectively in the women’s singles at the SEA Games in Laos last December. Indonesia’s women doubles Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii are currently world No. 9, while Shendy Puspa Irawati/Meiliana Jauhary are ranked 10th. In the Feb. 22-28 qualifier, the Uber Cup Asia Zone pool’s winner will play the other pool’s runner-up. The losers at the semifinals will duel for a third place spot. The best three teams qualify for the Uber Cup finals in Malaysia. Meanwhile, the 12 countries that will participate in the Thomas Cup Asia Zone qualifier are divided into Pool A (Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore), B (Taiwan, Hongkong, the Philippines), C (India, Thailand, Srilanka, Cambodia) and D (Japan, Korea and Laos). Indonesia is first seeded, followed by Japan (2nd), India (3rd) and Taiwan (4th). “The Thomas Cup squad has a greater than 60 percent chance of qualifying,” PBSI secretary-general Yacob Rusdianto said. “There is a great chance for the Thomas Cup team to win Pool A and the cross-matches,” Christian said. The winner and runner-up in Pool A will play against the runner-up and winner at Pool B, respectively. The same goes for Pool C and Pool D. This will result in four semifinalists, with the winning two teams qualifying straight to the Thomas Cup finals while the two losing teams will battle for one remaining spot in the finals. The six teams, three Thomas Cup teams and three Uber Cup teams, making it to the finals will meet host Malaysia and defending champion China — both need not go through qualifying rounds — the European Zone qualifiers, the winners of the Pan Am Zone, the Oceania Zone and the Africa Zone qualifiers, and one other country, either from Europe or Asia, based on the BWF World Ranking as of March 4. Thomas Cup and Uber Cup are held jointly once every two years. In 2008, China won both the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup.