Malaysia lost Thomas Cup to Japan. Probably the expectations of a whole nation – starved of Thomas Cup success – proved too much to bear for the Malaysian badminton team as they went down fighting 3-2 to Japan in the final at the Siri Fort Indoor Stadium here on Sunday.
The Malaysian team, making their first appearance in the final since Guangzhou in 2002, threw everything at first-time finalists Japan but their failure to clinch the tie before the deciding third singles match meant that the long wait to bring back the coveted Thomas Cup trophy continues.
Malaysia have not won the Cup since current singles head coach Rashid Sidek led the 1992 squad to a famous 3-2 win over Indonesia.
With the tie level at 2-2, captain Liew Daren put up a stirring fight-back from 10-16 down in the second game, to force a rubber.
But the astute Takuma Ueda eventually killed off Malaysia’s hopes with a hard-fought 21-12, 18-21, 21-17 win.