Nozomi Okuhara is a Japanese woman badminton player born on 13th March 1995. She hails from Omachi city of Nagano in Japan. She became world no.1 in 2019 and currently ranks No.3 in the women’s rankings.
Nozomi Okuhara comes from a humble Japanese family residing in Omachi city of Nagano district. She picked up an interest in badminton at the age of 6 in 2002. Nozomi joined the badminton academy in Nagano and received her first training.
Nozomi started to perform well in junior-level badminton while studying in elementary school. In 2010, at the age of 14, she was selected to the Japanese national team, which enabled her to represent her nation on the international stage.
Rise to Glory:
Nozomi Okuhara made her international debut in 2010 at Osaka International and ended up as runner-up after losing to Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol. The following year, she won her first senior national title, followed by her maiden senior international title at the Austrian International.
Nozomi has three national titles (2011, 2015, and 2019) under her belt at the Japan National Badminton Championships. In 2012, she claimed her first Grand Prix title at the Canada Open. Thereafter, she bagged three Grand Prix titles at the New Zealand Open, Vietnam Open, and Korea Grand Prix.
Nozomi was part of the Japanese mixed team that won two Silver medals (2015 and 2019) and a Bronze medal (2017) at the Sudirman Cup. She was also among the women's national team that bagged a Gold (2018) and Silver (2016) at the Asian Team Badminton Championships.
Nozomi Okuhara received her career breakthrough in 2011 after she won the Silver medal in Girls’ Singles at the World Junior Badminton Championships. In 2012, she won the Gold medal and Silver in Mixed Team and Singles respectively at the Asian Junior Badminton Championships. That year, she was crowned as Asian Junior Champion, followed by a Bronze medal in Mixed Team at the World Junior Badminton Championships.
In 2015, Nozomi won two Grand Prix Gold titles at the Malaysian Masters and US Open. That year, she won her first Superseries title at the Japan Open by defeating compatriot Akane Yamaguchi. Thereafter, she won three Superseries titles at the Dubai World Superseries Finals and All England Open in 2016 and Australian Open in 2017.
Nozomi Okuhara made her Olympics debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won the Bronze medal after receiving a walkover. The following year, she created history by becoming the first Japanese shuttler to be crowned as World Champion at the World Badminton Championships. Nozomi was part of the national women’s team that won the Gold (2018) and Bronze (2016) at the Uber Cup.
At the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, Nozomi won the Gold medal in the Women’s Team event by defeating China. That year, she bagged her first World Tour title at the Thailand Open. Subsequently, Nozomi won 4 World Tour titles, including the prestigious All England Open in 2021. In 2019, she won the Silver medal after losing to World Champion P.V.Sindhu at the World Badminton Championships.
Nozomi Okuhara qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and is seeded No.3 in the Women’s Singles.