The much-awaited Tokyo Olympics is finally happening in 2021. It is scheduled to start on July 23. With less than 50 days remaining for the mega sporting event, people across the world are gearing up to cheer for their favorite athletes.
In this article we will take a look at the sport of “Badminton” and try and list down the favorites in the Women’s Singles event for the Tokyo Olympics.
PV Sindhu, the poster girl of Indian badminton, is scheduled to participate in this event. And all Indian sports lovers will be keen to know if she has a chance to get a podium finish and bag some silverware for India.
History of Women’s Badminton Event in the Olympics
Women’s badminton was first introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Traditionally, China has been the most dominant nation in badminton, winning four of the seven gold medals so far. They won four consecutive gold medals from 2000 to 2012. In 2016, Spain’s Caroline Marin took home the gold medal, breaking the Chinese domination.
Players from different countries like Thailand, Japan, India, Korea, Spain and Chinese Taipei are coming through the ranks of late and the Tokyo Olympics will certainly be entertaining to watch for all badminton fans.
At present, the women’s singles field is a highly competitive one. The top bracket of shuttlers are all very closely matched. It is difficult to predict a winner as anybody can come out with a victory on any given day.
Defending champion Caroline Marin has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics because of an injury. Hence, there will certainly be a new winner in the badminton event. Based on current form and past records in big tournaments, we will try and list out the probable favorites in this event.
#1 World Number 1: Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei)
Tai Tzu Ying is one of the greatest women’s singles players of all time and will definitely be the favorite to win the gold medal this year. She has dominated her opponents with her mesmarizing style of play and won almost all the major tournaments. She is the current All England Champion and an Olympic medal is the only major silverware missing from her trophy cabinet.
So Tai will surely give her best in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics to bring home the gold medal.
#2: World Number 2: Chen Yufei (China)
This young Chinese shuttler has been the most improved women’s player over the last 3 years. She was the runner-up in the All England Championship in 2020 and has won multiple BWF superseries events in the last couple of years. She is currently ranked number 2 in the world.
Yufei is the biggest hope for Chinese fans in the Badminton Women’s Singles event and they are hoping that she will win the 5th Olympic gold for China in this event.
#3: Japanese Duo: Nozomi Okuhara (World No 3) and Akane Yamaguchi (World No 5)
The two Japanese badminton stars Nozomi Okuhara (World No 3) and Akane Yamaguchi (World No 5) go into the tournament as strong contenders for the title. They have won most of the major badminton events between themselves. Their hitlist includes the World Championships, the All England Championships and the Superseries Events.
However an Olympic gold is missing from their kitty and they will be hoping to give Japan their first Olympic gold in this event in front of their home crowd.
#4: Thai Star: Ratchanok Intanon (World no 6 )
Ratchanok Intanon is one of the most experienced players in this year’s Olympics. She is a former world champion and Asian champion and is one of the most consistent players on the circuit. With vast experience by her side, she will be a force to be reckoned with.
#5: The Poster Girl of Indian Badminton: PV Sindhu (World No 7)
PV Sindhu is a player who brings out her best in the big events as evidenced by her multiple medals in the world championships. She has also won an Olympic silver medal.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she came very close to winning the gold medal but could not cross the final hurdle as she fell to Caroline Marin. This time in the absence of the Spanish superstar, Sindhu will definitely fancy her chances of bringing home the gold medal.
It will prove to be a challenge for her given her recent slump in form. However, as discussed above, Sindhu is a player for the big occasions and it would be a mistake to write her off.