FORMER Olympic champion Park Joo Bong sees China's dominance in the Sudirman Cup as a mixed blessing for the competition.
China have been dominating the mixed team event since its inception in 1989, winning eight times. The team, led by World No 2 Chen Long, are expected to record their fifth straight win on Sunday.
Joo Bong, who led South Korea to wins in 1991 and 1993, said other teams must work harder to catch up with China.
"The Sudirman Cup has not lost its glitter because of China's dominance. Korea managed three titles, the last in 2003, while Indonesia won it once. It was much closer in the past but China have raced ahead due to hard work," said Joo Bong, the head coach of Japan, at Putra Stadium yesterday.
"Of course it's boring to see the same nation winning over and over again, but this is the challenge. The others must rise and find ways to defeat the best. It has been done before, so why not again?
"China have quality while others do not have all-round depth. They need to work harder. However, I believe Korea, Japan, Denmark and Indonesia are becoming stronger while Thailand are the new kids on the block."
Joo Bong said the Sudirman Cup is still relevant to the development of the sport.
"We need this tournament to develop and promote the sport among smaller nations. It is also a good event for the top 12 teams in the world," said the Korean.
On Japan's target, Joo Bong said his players produced a solid performance in the 5-0 thrashing of Singapore in a Group D tie yesterday.
"I hope the win will spur my team in tomorrow's (today) tie against fourth seeds Denmark. We hold an advantage in the men's and women's singles but the Danes are strong in doubles," Joo Bong added.
Japan have never reached the semi-finals but a win over Denmark will assure them an easier quarter-final tie and a chance of achieving their target.