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Published: Friday July 27, 2007 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday July 7, 2013 MYT 1:12:39 PM

Thais serve first shock of the championship

KUALA LUMPUR: Thailand dropped a bombshell when their contingent led by top singles shuttler Boonsak Ponsana withdrew from the World Championships to be held from Aug 13-19. 

The 12-member Thai team has chosen to participate in the World University Games rather that the World Badminton Federation (BWF)'s premier world meet. 

Thailand are hosting the Games in Bangkok from Aug 8-18 in conjunction with the 80th birthday of their King and unfortunately, it clashes with the world badminton meet.  

The winners at the Games are promised lucrative prize money while the World Championships, which involves a one-year qualifying period, offers no cash incentives. 

The Thai government, which is using the Games as a platform to secure a bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games, had made it compulsory for all Thai athletes to participate. 

Yesterday, BWF's event manager M. Venugopal confirmed that the Thais had withdrawn from the world meet.  

The Thais had two representatives each in the five events (men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles, mixed doubles) but their best bets were world No. 9 and Singapore Open singles champion Boonsak and world No. 6 mixed doubles pair of Sudket Prakamol-T. Saralee. 

“Yes, the Thais have withdrawn. They had informed us quite late – after the final deadline ended (on June 25). It is now too late for us to find replacements,” said Venugopal. 

“They knew about this world meet two years ago. Yet, they had to inform us of their withdrawal so close to the event. We cannot do anything about it.” 

When asked whether it was a blow to the status of the world meet, Venu said: “No, certainly not. There are so many other top players who will be taking part.” 

The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general manager Kenny Goh echoed the sentiments of Venugopal. 

“No, the absence of the Thais will not take the glitter from the tournament. It is unfortunate that they cannot make it because they are hosting their event. But other top players will be here and we (the BAM as the organiser) will do our best to put up the best show ever,” said Kenny.  

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