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World No 8 Ratchanok Intanon will spearhead Thailand’s challenge at the world mixed team Sudirman Cup being held in Nanning, China from May 19-26.
The 16-member national team (eight men and eight women) will also include the world No 4 mixed doubles pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai and has been placed in a group which also features Japan and Russia.
A total of 31 teams will take part in the biennial competition, 12 in Group 1 (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D) and 19 in Groups 2-4.
Group 1B comprises Indonesia, Denmark and England while Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong are placed in Group 1C. Ten-time champions China are in “group of death” 1D alongside India and Malaysia.
In the round-robin stage each tie will be the best of five and will consist of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Top two finishers in each group will move into the quarter-finals which will then revert to a knock-out format.
Thailand finished fourth in the last two editions: 2013 in Kuala Lumpur and 2017 on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Ratchanok decided to skip last week’s Asian Championships in Wuhan, China, in order to keep herself fresh for the world mixed team event.
“I believe we can get past the group stage and reach the quarter-finals. Japan will be tough but I’m confident we can beat Russia,” said Ratchanok, who has appeared in every Sudirman Cup since 2011.
Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul expects her team to reach at least the quarter-final stage and hopes for a good draw to help their progress to the latter stages.
“If we don’t have to face China or Japan in the quarter-finals, I believe we can reach the semi-finals and win at least the bronze,” Patama said.
Men’s team: Kantaphon Wangcharoen, Khosit Phetpradab, Sitthikom Thammasin, Dechapol Puavaranukroh, Kittinupong Kerden, Tinn Isriyanet, Kittisak Namdash and Nipitphon Puangphupet
Women’s team: Ratchanok Intanon, Pornpawee Chochuwong, Busanan Ongbamrungphan, Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Jongkolphan Kititharakul, Rawinda Prajongjai, Puttita Supajirakul, and Savitree Amitrapai.