The Tokyo Olympics 2021 presents itself as a fine opportunity for Chinese Taipei to finally win that elusive Olympic medal in badminton. Though the country has 24 Olympic medals, shuttlers from Chinese Taipei haven't succeeded in bagging one yet, despite being a strong nation in the sport.
The nation currently boasts some of the best players on the BWF tour. led by world No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, world No. 4Chou Tien Chen and world No. 7 doubles duo of Lee Yang - Wang Chi-Lin lead the challenge for Chinese Taipei who seem poised for victories in Tokyo. Possessing scintillating skills, Chinese Taipei players have always been tough obstacles to get past for the likes of top guns like Carolina Marin, PV Sindhu, Chen Yufei, Kidambi Srikanth and Anders Antonsen.
Chinese Taipei's secret behind producing world-class shuttlers
The emergence of Chinese Taipei as a powerhouse in badminton stems from the Taiwanese government's investment and dedication to the sport. Greatly supported and funded by the Taiwan Cooperative Bank, among other private organizations, badminton is encouraged as a sport in the nation and talented shuttlers are scouted from high schools and colleges.
Chinese Taipei takes extra care of these players and nurtures them to their full potential - working on sharpening their skills and movement on court. By offering nuanced training to these players, Chinese Taipei ensures that world-class shuttlers can be fashioned easily who are poised for success on the global stage.
Here's taking a look at the medal prospects of the Tokyo Olympics-bound Chinese Taipei players:
Tai Tzu Ying
Reigning World No. 1, Tai Tzu Ying is the obvious favorite from Chinese Taipei. All of 26, Tai is a formidable force in badminton and is the most likely candidate from Chinese Taipei to get a medal. Tai's offensive prowess and unpredictable shot-making skills make her a feared opponent. She holds the record for being the player who has spent the most number of weeks (148) at the numero uno spot.
3-time All England champion Tai Tzu Ying has already had a decorated career. Yet, she has faltered at the Olympics and the World Championships. She has never made it past the Round-of-16 stage at the two consecutive Olympics she competed in as if due to a jinx.
However, 2021 has once again been a promising year for this sensational Chinese Taipei player. Tai picked up the World Tour Finals title and finished as the runner-up at the Toyota Thailand Open and Yonex Thailand Open.
Chou Tien Chen
A quarter-finalist at his debut Olympics in Rio 2016, Chinese Taipei's World No. 4 Chou Tien Chen is looking to go further in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
So far, the 2018 Asian Games silver medallist Chen has put up decent performances in 2021, having played the Asian leg of tournaments at the beginning of the year. The Chinese Taipei player featured in a hat-trick of semi-finals in three consecutive tournaments - Yonex Thailand Open, Toyota Thailand Open and finally, the World Tour Finals. With the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, the 31-year-old will be Chinese Taipei's biggest hope in the men's singles category.
Wang Tzu Wei
Alongside Chou Tien Chen, Chinese Taipei also has World No. 10 player Wang Tzu Wei who will head to Tokyo to try his luck at bringing home a medal in badminton. The 2018 Asian Games bronze medalist Tzu Wei has enjoyed a more or less consistent 2021 so far.
After crashing out in the second round of the Yonex Thailand Open, Tzu Wei bounced back to make it to an all-Taiwanese quarter-final clash at the Toyota Thailand Open. Taking on fellow countryman Tien Chen, Tzu Wei went down fighting, 16-21, 16-21.
Finally, at the World Tour Finals, Tzu Wei produced a stellar performance to reach the semi-finals against eventual champion, Anders Antonsen. He gave a tough fight to the Dane, eventually losing 18-21, 21-14, 16-21.