Thomas Cup and Uber Cup are two terms one’s not likely to hear often, even for those who happen to be avid sports fans. One thing’s certain, though – they’re popular terms on the badminton scene. That being the case, it’s easy to get them mixed up, especially since they’re usually mentioned in the same contexts when badminton competitions roll around. Our brief guide on the Thomas and Uber Cup should help quickly disambiguate them.
What Are The Thomas And Uber Cups?
The Thomas and Uber Cups are both international badminton championships. In terms of coverage, they are two of the most prestigious badminton competitions in the world. Both are under the mandate of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). It’s badminton’s international governing body composed of 176 member nations spanning five continents. Only the countries in the BWF may contest the Thomas and Uber Cups.
And the difference between the cups? The Thomas Cup is the international championship for the men’s national badminton teams of BWF nations. The Uber Cup, on its part, is the women’s edition of the Thomas Cup. So no, the Thomas and Uber Cups are not the same! They’re very related since they are both international badminton championships organized by the BWF but separate men and women. Chances of a mix-up are high because the final stages of the competitions are usually held together in the same host nation. Let’s take a closer individual look at each one.
Also known as World Men’s Team Championships, it was founded in 1948 and contested every three years since 1982. In 1982, they started to hold the competition every two years. Since the inaugural 1948 edition, the competition has been held 30 times during writing. Interestingly, of those 30 times, only six nations have won it, suggesting an evident gulf in prowess between them and the other nations. The most successful in Indonesia, which has won it 14 times – nearly half of all the competitions held so far. Next is China, which has won it ten times, and Malaysia, which has five titles. Note that China only entered the tournament for the first time in 1982.
Men’s badminton (and competitive badminton in general) is the dominion of Asian countries. The only European nation (and only non-Asian) to have won. It was Denmark in 2016. All other champions have been Asian, including Japan (2014) and India, who are the current holders following their 2022 triumph.
As mentioned earlier, the Uber Cup is the female version of the Thomas Cup. Sometimes referred to as the World Women’s Team Championships and contested by the national women’s badminton teams of BWF member nations. It was first held in 1956 and was challenged thrice until 1984. Following the men’s version, they have conducted Uber Cup every two years since then. There’s a popular misconception that the Uber Cup got its name from Uber Inc., the mobility services provider, for sponsorship reasons. It is not valid. The competition’s name is after Betty Uber, a highly successful English badminton and tennis player who founded the competition. Uber fronted the idea of creating a women’s version of the Thomas Cup in 1950 and finally saw her vision come to life in 1956 when she made the draw for the maiden competition herself.
The Uber Cup follows the same format as the Thomas Cup. China is the most prosperous nation with 15 titles. Second is Japan (six times), followed by the USA and Indonesia, who boast three wins a piece.