World Badminton Federation

The History & Heritage of the Thomas Cup

By: Editor
Date: 10 Sep, 2020
Image Courtesy: World Badminton Federation
October 3rd, 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark would see the kick-off for the 31st Thomas Cup or the World Men's Team Championships; also marking the return of topflight badminton action for the first time since the game went into shutdown mode in mid-March following the corona virus pandemic.

With three-weeks until first of the players take to the courts, the preparations are underway both in Aarhus as well as various national camps across the globe. And thus, we take some time to delve into the illustrious history of this magnificent competition that was first conceived in the year 1939.

On March 11, 1939, President of the International Badminton Federation, Sir George Thomas first proposed the idea of a world team championship, something on the lines of the Davis Cup in Tennis. He had been himself a very successful player in the 1900s and then went on to be a very well-respected administrator of the game. His idea for a world team championship received wide accepted and he presented the trophy, then known as the International Badminton Championship Challenge Cup. 

Although the inaugural tournament had been planned for 1941-42 but had to be delayed due to the world war II and thus was eventually held in 1948, with 10 nationalities taking part. The tournament was held every three years until 1984, and then switched to a two-year cycle.
Despite, its nearly eight-decade history, the championships have been dominated by a rather small number of nationalities, with only 5 of them ever actually winning it. Indonesia is the most successful country having bagged the title, an astonishing 13 times. China have also been a very successful with 10 titles to their kitty.

Both China & Indonesia have both the title five consecutive times – Indonesia between 1994 and 2002, and China between 2004 and 2012. Malaysia, who were the winners of the inaugural edition have won the title on five occasions, while Denmark & Japan have also been the winners once each, both in the recent decade.

In terms of appearances, Denmark has appeared at every single one of the Championships while Indonesia & Malaysia come second with 27 appearances each.
So, will there be a new winner on the horizon at the 31st edition of the championships? Or will the traditional powerhouses once again take home the silverware? Following the World War II, there hasn’t quite been a global catastrophic event in this history of the Thomas Cup, so how does the Corona Virus pandemic serve as its backdrop?

In exactly a month’s time we’ll have all the answers, as the finals of the Thomas Cup 2020 will be on the 11th of October 2020. Watch this space for all the updates & action from Aarhus, Denmark.

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