Friday, 14 Jun 2024

BWF World Tour Celebrates 125 Years of Badminton Excellence

News | BWF World Tour

Badminton enthusiasts, get ready to be amazed as the BWF World Tour, the most prestigious competition in the sport, celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Let’s delve into the fascinating facts about this Super 1000 event while exploring the incredible achievements of the players who have graced the tournament over the years.

General Facts

  • The inaugural edition of the tournament took place in 1899 and initially only featured doubles events. Singles events were introduced a year later, adding another layer of excitement to the competition.
  • Sir George Thomas holds the enviable title of the most successful athlete in the history of the tournament, with an impressive 21 championships to his name. Thomas secured victories in men’s doubles, mixed doubles, and men’s singles, showcasing his versatility and dominance on the court.
  • One notable non-English winner was Frank Devlin, an Irishman who took the men’s doubles title in 1922 alongside England’s Guy Sautter. Devlin went on to win an additional 17 titles, firmly establishing himself as one of the tournament’s greats.
  • Indonesian men’s singles legend Rudy Hartono holds the record for the most consecutive titles, winning seven championships from 1968 to 1974.
  • American Judy Devlin has the distinction of boasting the most singles crowns in the tournament’s history, with an impressive tally of ten victories.

The Open Era

  • Doubles legend Gao Ling stands out as the most decorated player in the Open Era, having clinched 11 wins throughout her career.
  • Li Yongbo and Tian Bingyi carved their names into the history books as the last men’s pair to win the tournament three times, achieving this feat in 1987, 1988, and 1991.
  • Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan are poised to potentially equal Li and Tian’s record, having already triumphed in 2014 and 2019.
  • Despite Indonesia’s historical prowess in badminton, they have not celebrated a men’s singles champion for 30 years. However, fifth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting carries their hopes of ending the drought in 2024.
  • China, renowned for its badminton excellence, has experienced a dry spell in the men’s doubles category since Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan’s victory in 2013. This year, they are pinning their hopes on two seeded pairs: Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang (2) and Liu Yu Chen and Ou Xuan Yi (8).
  • Malaysia, another powerhouse in the sport, has not seen success in the men’s doubles discipline since Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong emerged victorious in 2007. Their best chance of ending this drought lies with fifth-seeded 2022 world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.
  • China holds the distinction of being the most recent country to sweep the tournament, achieving this feat in 2009 and ending Denmark’s longstanding record that had stood since 1948.
  • China and Japan are the only two countries with seeded entries in all five events, underscoring their consistent performance and relentless pursuit of badminton supremacy.
  • Li Shi Feng has the opportunity to become the first back-to-back men’s singles champion since Lee Chong Wei in 2011, making this category the longest without a title defense. Additionally, if Li secures the victory, it will propel China to joint-second highest in terms of men’s singles titles, alongside Denmark.
  • In the women’s singles category, third seed Tai Tzu Ying has the chance to achieve a remarkable feat by becoming the first player since Malaysian icon Lee in 2017 to secure four victories. Tai also stands as the most recent player in her discipline to achieve consecutive wins, accomplishing the feat in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, top seed An Se Young hopes to emulate this achievement.
  • If An’s compatriots Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong successfully defend their prize, they will become the first Korean women’s pair in 30 years to do so. The last Korean pair to achieve this feat was Chung So Young and Gil Young Ah in 1994.
  • Yuta Watanabe, a stalwart in the sport, could ascend to the top step of the podium for the sixth time, adding to his impressive collection of two men’s doubles and three mixed doubles gold medals. The last shuttler to achieve this feat was the legendary Lin Dan in 2016.
  • Notably, the top-seeded duo in the men’s doubles category, India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, are the only top seeds without prior triumphs. Their journey to clinching the title will surely captivate fans and showcase their potential as rising stars in the sport.
  • India, a nation with a rich badminton history, is still awaiting success in categories other than men’s singles. Seventh seed H.S Prannoy carries the hopes of Indian fans in the men’s singles category. A victory in either category would end India’s 23-year wait for success since Pullela Gopichand became their second champion after Prakash Padukone in 2001.
  • Post-Gopichand, only players from Malaysia, China, Japan, and Denmark have emerged victorious, underlining these nations’ dominance in the field.
  • Women’s doubles has seen champions from countries beyond the traditional powerhouses of Korea, China, Denmark, and Japan. However, the last time this occurred was in 1981 when English pair Nora Perry and Jane Webster claimed the title.
  • This year’s draw features eight seeded pairs, representing three nations: Korea, China, and Japan.
  • Thailand (men’s singles and mixed doubles) and Hong Kong China (mixed doubles) are among the nations hoping for their first All England titlists, with their seeded entries carrying their aspirations.
  • Carolina Marin, a former champion, holds the record for the longest wait for a second crown. Despite her incredible talent, Marin has not stood atop the podium since her victory in 2015.
  • The final home shuttlers to achieve success were mixed pair Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms in 2005, representing a notable moment in the tournament’s history.
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Standout Stat

In the 18 tournaments following Robertson and Emms’ triumph, only pairs from China, Japan, and Indonesia have emerged victorious in the mixed doubles discipline. This demonstrates the continued dominance of these nations in this highly competitive category.

FAQs

Q: When was the first BWF World Tour tournament held?
A: The first BWF World Tour tournament took place in 1899.

Q: Who is the most successful athlete in BWF World Tour history?
A: Sir George Thomas holds the record for the most championships won, with an impressive tally of 21 titles.

Q: Which country has the longest wait for a men’s singles champion?
A: Indonesia has not celebrated a men’s singles champion for 30 years since Hariyanto Arbi’s victory in 1994.

Q: Who is the most decorated player in the Open Era?
A: Gao Ling is the most decorated player in the Open Era, with 11 wins to her name.

Q: Which country has the longest wait for a men’s doubles champion?
A: China has not won a men’s doubles championship since Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan emerged victorious in 2013.

Conclusion

The BWF World Tour has been a beacon of badminton excellence for 125 years, showcasing the most talented athletes from around the world. As the tournament enters its new edition, fans eagerly anticipate the thrilling battles that will unfold on the court. With a rich history and a bright future, the BWF World Tour continues to captivate badminton enthusiasts across the globe.

For more information and updates about the BWF World Tour, visit Carnegiecentre.

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