Badminton is one of the most popular spectator sports at the Summer Olympics. Following its inclusion as a medal event at the Olympics in 1992, badminton has carved a niche for itself as one of the elite sports.
In recent years, women’s badminton has witnessed an unprecedented rise in popularity at the mega-quadrennial Games. The emergence of superstars like Carolina Marin, Nozomi Okuhara, P V Sindhu, and Tai Tzu Ying has brought in more fans.
Based on their past achievements in the international circuit, here is a look at five female shuttlers who could make their presence felt at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Also Read: 5 Dominant Female Shuttlers at the Olympics
#5 Chen Yu Fei
Nationality - China
Chen Yu Fei’s career breakthrough kickstarted at the 2019 Yonex All England tournament, where she won the title. The year proved to be the best-ever season in Chen’s career after she bagged multiple titles that also included a bronze at the World Championships.
With 7 titles that year, Chen Yufei ascended to the pinnacle of the world rankings. She has been at the center of a Chinese renaissance in badminton after the likes of Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian retired. With the confidence she has gained, Chen will definitely be a key competitor at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
#4 Tai Tzu Ying
Nationality: Chinese Taipei
World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying won hearts for her victory at the Japanese Super Series in 2012, making her the youngest-ever Super Series titleholder at the time.
The improvement since 2012 has been stellar, revealing her commitment and focus. She has molded herself into one of the most successful and formidable female shuttlers on the professional circuit. Her guile and on-court wizardry have fetched her numerous accolades. Tai's consistency at the top tier of the sport helped her create a new record of 148 weeks stay at the No. 1 position in the BWF World Rankings.
With an Olympic medal still missing from her kitty, every step of Tai Tzu will be towards bagging it at Tokyo.
#3 Nozomi Okuhara
Nationality - Japan
Nozomi Okuhara has been one of the consistent performers in women's badminton for the past few years. She won bronze at the 2016 Summer Olympics, which was followed by a gold medal-winning performance at the 2017 World Championships.
The 25-year-old is currently fourth in the BWF rankings and is one of the best bets for Japanese badminton to win a medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
#2 PV Sindhu
Nationality - India
All of 21, PV Sindhu became an overnight sensation in India after she bagged her first-ever Olympic medal, a silver, at Rio.
More success followed as she won a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a silver in women’s singles. After a string of silver medals, Sindhu captured the BWF World Tour Finals title in 2018. The very next year, she took that sterling form to the BWF World Championships, where she was crowned the champion.
Her exceptional attacking skills are going to be crucial as she hunts a gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
#1 Carolina Marin
Nationality - Spain
Defending champion Carolina Marin will be one of the biggest contenders for the gold at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Marin’s career breakthrough came in 2011 when she won her first major title at the Irish International tournament.
Since then, she has gone on to win every top tournament in badminton that includes the World Championships, the All England Open, the European Championships, besides the Olympic gold.
Also Read: Top 5 moments from Carolina Marin's career
Marin has also held the World No. 1 title for a span of 66 weeks. She began 2021 with back-to-back titles in Thailand, which shows how prepared she is for the Olympics. It won't be a surprise to see Carolina Marin standing on top of the podium again.