Badminton Year-Ender: Top 5 shuttlers of the 2018 season
Guts, gumption and glory -- the 2018 badminton season witnessed these in bucketloads. It was yet another year dotted with some performances that won’t be erased from the fans’ minds in a long time.
It was indeed a hectic season with major competitions like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships sandwiched in between an already packed schedule. Shuttlers had a hard time keeping themselves fully fit and ready for the most coveted titles.
Despite the extra workload, there were some players who caught everyone’s attention with the immense determination they showed day in and day out at the biggest tournaments of the year.
As we bid adieu to the year, here are five of the best performers from badminton in 2018:
#1 Kento Momota
Irrepressible. Indomitable. Indefatigable.
All adjectives fall short of describing the kind of incredible season that Japan’s Kento Momota had in 2018. The Japanese southpaw made the most of his second coming on the tour since his suspension due to illegal gambling was lifted.
And nobody better than Momota taught us how to make the most of second chances!
The Mino-born player started playing better than ever on his way to reaching the pinnacle of the world rankings. Momota created a slice of history for Japan through that feat by becoming the first man from the country to hold the No. 1 spot in the BWF rankings in either singles or doubles.
The winning spree started at a lesser-known tournament -- the Vietnam International Challenge in March. Buoyed by that victory, Momota took it up a level further when he scalped the likes of Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long to be crowned the champion of Asia.
A loss to Lee in the final of the Malaysia Open could not deter him and he added the Indonesia Open title the very next week. He rode on that success to conquer an even bigger tournament -- the World Championships.
While the Asian Games defeat was an aberration, Momota returned with a vengeance to take titles at the Japan Open, Denmark Open, China Open, apart from runner-up finishes at the BWF World Tour Finals and Victor China Open.
With a total of seven titles and three finishes as the losing finalist, Momota was simply better than the best!