The 2015 Sudirman Cup begins on Sunday in Dongguan, China, kicking off eight days of the world's best mixed-team badminton action.
The biennial competition will see the 12 teams in the elite group compete for the storied trophy, with the hosting Chinese going for a record 10th title.
Meanwhile, the 23 other teams in groups two, three and four will be looking to gain promotion up the ladder that could eventually see them competing for the trophy in years to come.
Here are all the details ahead of the competition's start, including the schedule, teams and a further look at some of the key stories.
Dates: May 10 - May 17
Host City: Dongguan, China
Full Schedule: Visit BWFBadminton.org
|Sudirman Cup 2015: Elite Group Teams|
|Sudirman Cup 2015: Draw|
|May 10||Group 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D|
|May 11||Group 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D|
|May 12||Group 1A, 1B|
|May 13||Group 1C, 1D|
|May 14||Quarter-finals 1 and 2|
|May 15||Quarter-finals 3 and 4|
|May 16||Semi-finals 1 and 2|
With each contest consisting of five matches—men and women's singles, men and women's doubles and mixed doubles—winning the Sudirman Cup requires consistent excellence.
China have dominated the competition since its inception in 1989, winning the last five tournaments, and have barely been troubled as they prevailed 3-0 in all five finals.
They begin their campaign for a 10th title with an opening encounter against Germany and it should be an opening win for the the hosting side as the world's top-ranked team, per BWF.
Japan could pose the biggest threat to the Chinese in this year's Sudirman Cup having prevailed in last year's Thomas Cup.
However, Japan's talisman in that triumph, Kenichi Tago, has lost form so drastically since that triumph that he will not be appearing in the upcoming competition, per BWF.
The 20-year-old Kento Momota could be the star for Japan, though, if they are to go all the way, and they face Russia and Chinese Taipei in their group.
Denmark, Indonesia and England make up a tough Group 1C. The Danish European champions have lost several of their key players—including Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen—over a sponsorship dispute.
This makes them something of an unknown quantity, and they could be vulnerable.
England have sent out a strong team, including Rajiv Ouseph, Toby Penty and Fontaine Chapman, with the latter clearly eager to get going:
Malaysia, India and 2013 beaten-finalists Korea make up the final group. The Malaysians are boosted by the the return of former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei from an eight-month doping ban.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning men's doubles pairing will also be in action. Although Tan Wee Kiong—partnered by Goh V Shem—admits they are feeling the pressure, per Kng Zheng Guan of The Star:
For us everything has not been going that smoothly. We’re improving in game play and getting better in our physical conditions but we have to stay focused. At the New Zealand Open, it was not a good performance at all because we kept making a lot of simple mistakes. I believe we are starting to feel the pressure of needing to deliver. It’s important for us to deal with, think positively and keep looking forward. For the Sudirman Cup, we have been analysing our opponents game and it’ll be down to us to play well. Hopefully we can rediscover the same spirit we had during the Thomas Cup last year.
China are the team to beat, and they are sure to go far, especially given their home advantage. However, there is plenty of quality on show at this year's Sudirman Cup.
The likes of Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia are strong outfits and it should be a fascinating eight days of action before the winner is crowned.