Thomas Cup 2024: highlights + the players’ shoes


This week I’m trying something new. I’ve prepared an exciting summary of last week’s Thomas Cup in Chengdu, China. It comes with all the drama and spectacular highlights you’re used to from top-tier badminton tournaments.

This also serves as an excuse for me to assess which badminton shoes are the most popular among the pro players right now. If you’re curious about your favorite player’s model, you’ll find that too (provided they participated in the Thomas Cup 2024).

Since this tournament doesn’t follow your typical format, let’s begin with a quick reminder of how it works.

The Thomas Cup is known as the men’s world cup for countries and is played over the course of a week or so. That means each player is representing their country rather than competing individually as is the case during usual tournaments on the BWF World Tour.

As such, each round is played as best of five matches with the usual 2-3 games per match played right after one another.

These five matches are made up of a combination between singles and doubles matches, but the order can change. For example, during the group stage, each round might have one singles match followed by a doubles match, another singles match, and so on, until all five matches are played between two teams.

On the other hand, some quarter-finals play all their singles matches before moving on to their doubles matches. Don’t worry, it sounds more confusing than it is in the real world.

A team has to win three matches (i.e. two singles- and one doubles match) to win the round. In the group stage, all five matches are played even if one team is ahead 3-0 because the number of games and rallies won can affect the overall scoreline in case of a tie down the road.

But there’s a fun twist that makes this event more exciting for Western nations where the singles discipline tends to be more popular. It’s technically possible to win each round by only winning the singles matches since there are three of them and only two doubles matches.

That is especially exciting for underdog nations like Denmark where singles is the preferred discipline. There’s still a chance to snatch the title from dominant nations like China, Indonesia, and India with exceptionally strong players across both singles and doubles disciplines.

Now, you might be wondering what the women and mixed double pairs are up to during this tournament.

There’s a counterpart for women held at the same time and venue, called Uber Cup. Since this mini-guide is an experiment, I won’t be covering that today, but I might in the future if you’re interested.

In some cases, the mixed doubles pairs are participating with a different partner in the male- or female doubles discipline during this tournament. In others, they aren’t participating at all.

With this overview out of the way, let’s dive into the summary and highlights of this 2024 event of the Thomas Cup.

Keep in mind that there will be spoilers, so if you want to watch the games later you might wanna skip this (if you just want to know more about the gear used by the pro players this year, skip to the last chapter).

Thomas Cup 2024: highlights

The group stage breaks up the 16 teams that qualified into four groups with four countries in each group. They play one match against each other and the two countries with the most wins in each group advance to the knock-out stage with the last eight countries.

Next, there’s the quarter-final, semi-final, and final as is common in most sports tournaments. When you lose you’re knocked out.

For your convenience, I’ll follow a chronological order of the tournament starting with the best highlights from the group stage before covering each round of the knock-out stage.

The group stage: any surprising exits?

First, here’s an overview of the groups and the countries playing each other.

Group AGroup BGroup CGroup D
South KoreaChinese TaipeiIndiaMalaysia
CanadaGermanyThailandHong Kong
AustraliaCzech RepublicEnglandAlgeria

Next is the same table, but with the results of the matches.

PosTeamWinsLossesGames ForGames AheadPointsQualification
1China302853Advance to quarter-finals
2South Korea212582
PosTeamWinsLossesGames ForGames AheadPointsQualification
1Japan303043Advance to quarter-finals
2Chinese Taipei2120172
4Czech Republic038260
PosTeamWinsLossesGames ForGames AheadPointsQualification
1Indonesia302893Advance to quarter-finals
PosTeamWinsLossesGames ForGames AheadPointsQualification
1Denmark302773Advance to quarter-finals
3Hong Kong1214201

While there are plenty of highlight reels on BWF’s Youtube channel, they didn’t cover all matches and not all of the highlights were as exciting as others.

So I took the liberty of going through everything that I could find to share the most exciting highlights — those that are more exciting than your typical good smash or dramatic rally. I’ll cover the following categories:

  1. Dramatic situations with umpires
  2. Surprise wins + shock exits + advances to the next round
  3. Cool rallies and tricks that stood out

Highlight 1

Jan Louda from the Czech Republic wins the first set against Nishimoto from Japan and nearly the second set too!

Highlight 2

Surprisingly, Thailand did not advance from the group stage (but all the other teams that did are the usual suspects, so there’s just one team “too much” with only eight spots)

Highlight 3

Incredible defense from Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia)

Highlight 4

Around the back defense shot

Highlight 5

Kento Momota’s defense and net touch (it’s crazy how sensitive and skilled he is at the net considering his Yonex Astrox 99 Pro racket is so head heavy).

Highlight 6

Two highly entertaining rallies between LJZ and Axelsen

If you want to watch future matches live (i.e. the Olympics), bookmark this guide on live streaming badminton.

The quarter-finals: will the last non-Asian nation get knocked out?

The quarter-finals took us through four exciting matches:

  • China vs India (3-1)
  • Malaysia vs Japan (3-1)
  • Denmark vs Chinese Taipei (1-3)
  • Korea – Indonesia (1-3)

While the games were intense and entertaining, there weren’t any major headlines worth noticing besides Denmark, the favorite in the match against Chinese Taipei, losing out on the semi-finals.

Sadly, Kento Momota (Japan) didn’t get to play the last singles game against Malaysia as they won in the fourth match. That means the last match of his career during an international tournament was at the group stage.


The semi-finals: will the two powerhouses make mistakes?

From the quarter-finals, we’ve come to the final four teams:

  • Indonesia – Chinese Taipei (3-0)
  • China – Malaysia (3-1)


The final: the battle for the title

Finally, it was down to the final two teams to battle it out.

  • China – Indonesia (3-1)


Thomas Cup 2024 players’ badminton shoes

Before ending this Thomas Cup 2024 summary, let’s dive into the shoes the players have used during the tournament.

This is possibly the only event (except for the Olympics) that allows the players to wear gear from multiple sponsors. You see, each country’s national team has a gear sponsor and each individual player has their own sponsor.

That means that the clothes they wear on court is their national team uniform, sponsored by the national team’s sponsor rather than the individual player. On the other hand, it’s unreasonable to expect players to learn to use new gear just for one tournament, so they are still allowed to play with their usual racket, strings, handle grip, and shoes.

That’s why you’ll see some players wear competing sponsors like Victor apparel with Yonex gear, as is the case with Viktor Axelsen as shown below. Here he’s wearing Victor apparel as Denmark’s national team is sponsored by them, while playing with his Yonex Astrox 100ZZ and Yonex SHB 65z3 shoes.

Example of Viktor Axelsen’s mixed sponsorships at the Thomas Cup 2024

During my extensive research in preparation for this guide, I attempted to find the rackets for each player, but it turned out to be a huge undertaking as most players don’t have updated information about their gear, even on their sponsors’ websites. I was able to find some which I’ve included below.

Before diving into the overview showing each participating player and their current badminton shoes, here are my observations from looking up the badminton shoes of more than a hundred pro players.


To my surprise, Yonex’s ultra-lightweight performance shoes (the Yonex Aerus Z2) aren’t as popular among the pros as you’d expect, despite it being meant for speed, performance, and tournaments at least based on its marketing. Only 2.6% of the players use it. 

Without knowing for sure, I figure it’s due to the pros preferring slightly more cushioning for longevity instead of going all-in on raw speed and less injury prevention.

The most popular shoe by far is the Yonex SHB 65z3 with 63% (72 players out of 115 used it) of the players using it during this tournament. That surprised me as I didn’t find it particularly amazing compared to other flagship models.

CountryPlayer NameShoes UsedRacket UsedSource
KoreaJEON Hyeok JinYonex SHB 65z3Link
KI Dong JuYonex SHB 65z3Link
KANG Min HyukYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Arcsaber 11 ProLink
SEO Seung JaeYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Nanoflare 700Link
Lee Yun GyuYonex SHB 65z3Link
KIM Won HoYonex Aerus Z2Yonex Nanoflare 700Link
CanadaBrian YANGYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 100ZZLink

Joshua NguyenYonex SHB 65z3Link
Nyl YAKURAYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88S ProLink
Victor LAIYonex SHB 65z3Link
Kevin LEEYonex SHB 65z3Link
Ty Alexander LINDEMANYonex SHB 65z3Link
Imran WADIAYonex SHB 65z3Link
ChinaSHI Yu QiLi-Ning Invincible ACEYonex Astrox 100ZZLink
LI Shi FengYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 100ZZLink

LIANG Wei KengYonex Eclipsion Z3Yonex Nanoflare 800 ProLink
WANG ChangYonex Comfort Z3Yonex Nanoflare 800 ProLink
LU Guang ZuYonex SHB 65z3Link
LIU Yu ChenYonex SHB 65z3Link
OU Xuan YiYonex SHB 65z3Link
AustraliaRicky TANGVictor A970ACELink
Jacob SCHUELERYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 100ZZ, Astrox 77 Pro, Astrox 99Link

Kenneth Zhe Hooi CHOOYonex SHB 65z3Link
Huaidong TANGYonex SHB 65z3Link
Jack YUYonex SHB 65z3Link
Rayne WANGYonex SHB 65z3Link
JapanKenta NISHIMOTOVictor A970 NitroliteVictor Thruster Ryuga IILink
Kodai NARAOKAVictor A970 NitroliteLink
Koki WATANABEYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88D ProLink
Akira KOGAYonex SHB 65z3Link
Taichi SAITOYonex Eclipsion Z3Link
Kento MOMOTAYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 99 ProLink
Kenya MITSUHASHIYonex SHB 65z3Link
Hiroki OKAMURAMizuno Wave Claw 3Link
HokiYonex SHB 65z3 (Special Orange/Yellow team edition)Link
Yugo KobayashiYonex SHB 65z3 (Special Orange/Yellow team edition)Link
Czech RepublicJan LOUDAYonex SHB 65z3Link
Jiří KRÁLYonex SHB 65z3Link
Ondřej KRÁLYonex SHB 65z3Link
Adam MENDREKVictor S82IIILink
Dominik KOPŘIVAYonex SHB 65z3Link
Chinese TaipeiCHOU Tien ChenYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Duora-Z StrikeLink

LEE YangYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Arcsaber 11 ProLink

WANG Chi-LinYonex Aerus Z2Yonex Nanoflare 1000ZLink


LIN Chun-YiYonex Eclipsion Z3Link
Ye H W(Unsponsored)(Unsponsored)Link
LEE Jhe-HueiYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Nanoflare 1000ZLink
Chia Hao LeeVictor A970 NitroliteLink
YANG Po-HsuanYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88D ProLink
WANG Tzu WeiVictor A970 NitroliteVictor DriveX 10 MetallicLink
GermanyKai SCHAEFERVictor A970 NitroliteLink
Bjarne GEISSYonex SHB 65z3Link
Yonex SHB 65z3Link
Jan Colin VOELKERYonex SHB 65z3Link
Fabian ROTHYonex SHB 65z3Link
Marvin SEIDELYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88D ProLink
Matthias KICKLITZVICTOR SH-A920 blueVICTOR Thruster FLink

IndonesiaAnthony Sinisuka GINTINGLi-Ning Blast JF-01Li-Ning Axforce 100Link
Fajar ALFIANYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88S ProLink
Muhammad Rian ARDIANTOYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88D ProLink
Jonatan CHRISTIELi-Ning Yun TingLink
Muhammad Shohibul FIKRILi-Ning Blade Pro (needs confirmation)Li-Ning Calibar 900iLink
Bagas MAULANALi-Ning Saga SE (needs confirmation)Li-Ning Turbocharging 75 ExtremeLink
Alwi FARHANYonex SHB 65z3Link
EnglandHarry HUANGYonex SHB 65z3Link
Ben LANEYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Nanoflare 1000ZLink
Sean VENDYYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 100ZZLink
Nadeem DALVIYonex SHB 65z3Link
Callum HEMMINGYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88S ProLink

Ethan VAN LEEUWENYonex SHB 65z3Link
Cholan KAYANYonex SHB 65z3Link
IndiaPRANNOY H. S.Victor A970 NitroliteVictor Auraspeed HS PlusLink
Satwiksairaj RANKIREDDYYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Duora Z-StrikeLink
Chirag SHETTYYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Arcsaber 11 ProLink
Lakshya SENYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Nanoflare 1000ZLink
M.R. ARJUNYonex SHB 65z3Link
Dhruv KAPILAYonex SHB 65z3Link
KIDAMBI SrikanthLi-Ning Blade ProLink
ThailandKunlavut VITIDSARNYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 88D ProLink
Peeratchai SUKPHUNYonex SHB 65z3Link
Pakkapon TEERARATSAKULYonex SHB 65z3Link
Tanadon PUNPANICHYonex SHB 65z3Link
Wachirawit SOTHONYonex SHB 65z3Link
Saran JAMSRIYonex SHB 65z3Link
MalaysiaLEE Zii JiaVictor A970 NitroliteVictor Thruster Ryuga MetallicLink
Aaron CHIAYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Arcsaber 11 ProLink
SOH Wooi YikYonex Power Cushion InfinityYonex Nanoflare 800 ProLink
LEONG Jun HaoYonex Aerus Z2Link
GOH Sze FeiYonex SHB 65z3Link
Nur IZZUDDINYonex SHB 65z3Link
Justin HOHYonex SHB 65z3Link
Hong KongLEE Cheuk YiuYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 99 ProLink

LAW Cheuk HimYonex SHB 65z3Link
YEUNG Shing ChoiYonex SHB 65z3Link
NG Ka Long Angus(I can’t tell)Link
LEE Chun Hei ReginaldYonex SHB 65z3Link
TANG Chun ManYonex SHB 65z3Link
CHAN Yin ChakYonex SHB 65z3Link
DenmarkViktor AXELSENYonex SHB 65z3Yonex Astrox 100ZZLink
Anders ANTONSENVictor A970 NitroliteVictor Auraspeed 90K
Rasmus GEMKEN/AForza FZ – Aero Power MastersLink
Kim ASTRUPLikely Li-Ning Yun Ting or Li-Ning Blade Pro (difficult to confirm)Li-Ning Tectonic 7CLink
Anders Skaarup RASMUSSENLi-Ning Yun Ting (new orange color scheme)Li-Ning 3D Calibar 900CLink
Rasmus KJÆRVictor A930Link
Frederik SØGAARDVictor P8500IILink
AlgeriaAdel HAMEKN/A(No highlights of Algeria’s games)
Youcef Sabri MEDELN/A
Mohamed Abderrahime BELARBIN/A

  1. I have the Aerus Z3 model but only wears it during gameplay. For training, I wear the Comfort Z3. You’re right, as a woman on my early 40’s I prefer all the cushioning I could get. The Aerus shoes gave me a lot of blisters and black toenails.

      1. I changed thrice within 19 months. The last shoe gave me black toenails that’s why I shifted to Cushion Z3. Been wearing it for only 1 week so I can’t fully comment yet.

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