The 2023 BWF Badminton World Championships is set to get underway at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, from August 21 to 27. The tournament is regarded among the most prestigious competitions in the sport after the Olympics and the All England Open.
The Badminton World Championships was started in 1977 and was held every three years in its early yeaes before it turned into a biennial event from 1983. Since 2005, the tournament has been staged every year, with the Olympics years being the only exceptional. 2021 has been the only instance when both the World Championships and Tokyo Olympics took place in the same year as the latter was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
A total of 14 shuttlers from India will be in action in the upcoming week in Copenhagen, with four players in the singles categories for men and women, and five pairs for doubles across three different categories. India will vie to add to their overall tally of 13 medals at the global event.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is the most successful player in the tournament from India, having finished on the podium on five occasions. Former World No.1 Saina Nehwal’s twin medals in the BWF World Championships is the second best in the country. Let’s take a quick glance towards India’s achievements in the World Championships over the last four decades.
From Prakash Padukone to Chirag/Satwik - Here's India's record at BWF Badminton World Championships
Prakash Padukone secured India’s first medal at the Badminton World Championships, when it was known as the IBF World Championships, in the 1983 edition in Copenhagen. Padukone beat the likes of Stephan Karlsson, Heinz Fischer, Andy Goode and Luan Jin in straight games to reach the semi-finals.
Despite a win against Icuk Sugiarto in the first game of the semi-final, Padukone went down to lose against the Indonesian in the next two games. However, the legendary Indian shuttler settled with a bronze to mark India’s growth at the big stage.
India had to wait for 28 years for its next medal in the World Championships when Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa won bronze in the women’s doubles, which happens to be the lone medal in the categorised event.
PV Sindhu won her first medal at the 2013 World Championships at the age of 18. Sindhu, who was seeded 10th in the event, got the better of Chinese players Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian en route to the semi-finals. She lost to the eventual champion Ratchanok Inthanon in the semifinals and returned with a bronze.
Sindhu added another bronze in the following BWF World Championship edition in Copenhagen. Saina Nehwal became the first Indian player to reach the final of World Championships in 2015. The London Olympic medallist defeated Wang Yihan and Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively to reach her maiden final in Women’s Singles. Spain’s Carolina Marin won in straight sets against Nehwal in the final.
For the first time in the history of the BWF World Badminton Championships, two Indians finished on the podium in the same event in 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. Although Sindhu made it to her maiden appearance in the Championship final after thumping Chen Yufei 21-13 and 21-10 in the final, Nehwal was knocked out by Japanese shuttler Nozomi Okuhara in the second semifinal. Okuhara later defeated Sindhu in the final as India settled with a silver and a bronze that year.
Sindhu made her successive appearance in the final of 2018 Championships only to end as the runners-up to Carolina Marin, who also managed to beat her in the final of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Sindhu finally ended her woes in the final stage after she was crowned the 2019 BWF World Championships Women’s Singles winner. The Indian avenged the 2017 Championship final defeat against Okuhara by rallying past the Japanese in straight games with identical scorelines of 21-7.
B Sai Praneeth also bagged a bronze in the 2019 season, ending the wait for Indian male shuttlers to register a medal at the BWF World Championships after Prakash Padukone in 1983. The 16th seeded won all four rounds in straight sets before going down to Kento Momota in the semifinals.
Kidambi Srikanth became the first Indian male player to reach the men’s singles final in 2021. Srikanth defeated compatriot Lakshya Sen 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 to set up a meeting with Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew. Loh managed to seal the title despite some late resistance from the latter in the second game. Meanwhile, Lakshya settled with the bronze.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won India’s first medal in the men’s doubles event at the BWF World Championships in 2022 in Tokyo. The prolific Indian pair, who ranked seventh in the world at that point, won the gruelling first game by 22-20 against Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik before losing consecutive games in a 78-minute semifinal to settle with the bronze.
India’s medals in BWF World Championships over the years
1983: Prakash Padukone (Bronze in Men's Singles)
2011: Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa (Bronze in Women's Doubles)
2013: PV Sindhu (Bronze in Women's Singles)
2014: PV Sindhu (Bronze in Women's Singles)
2015: Saina Nehwal (Silver in Women's Singles)
2017: PV Sindhu (Silver in Women's Singles)
2017: Saina Nehwal (Bronze in Women's Singles)
2018: PV Sindhu (Silver in Women's Singles)
2019: PV Sindhu (Gold in Women's Singles)
2019: B Sai Praneeth (Bronze in Men's Singles)
2021: Kidambi Srikanth (Silver in Men's Singles)
2021: Lakshya Sen (Bronze in Men's Singles)
2022: Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Renkireddy (Bronze in Men's Doubles)