Last updated on September 21st, 2020
18. Nozomi Okuhara
At 16, Nozomi Okuhara became the youngest champion in the women’s singles at the National Badminton Championships in her native Japan. At the 2012 Canada Open, the 5’1″ powerhouse captured her very first Grand Prix. She was sidelined for a year due to a knee injury but bounced back by winning the 2015 Dubai Superseries. She has an Olympic bronze medal and a World Championships gold medal.
19. Syed Modi
Syed Modi won the National Badminton Championship eight consecutive times, reigning supreme from 1980 to 1987. He also captured the 1982 Commonwealth Games circuit and three international titles – the Austrian International twice and the USSR International. Although he was born Mehdi Syed, a misspelling of his last name stuck. He was gunned down in 1988 at just 25 years old.
20. Aparna Popat
Aparna Popat was India’s star female shuttler before P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. She was 8 years old when player and later coach Anil Pradhan offered to train her. She also trained under the great Prakash Padukone and later matched his nine consecutive wins at the national singles. She did, in fact, defeat a young Nehwal for the last Senior Nationals title. She once ranked No. 16 in the world.
21. Morten Frost
Morten Frost won every top-level title but never became a World Champion. He did, however, outshine other shutters who competed in the All England Open, winning the tournament four times. He won the Nordic championship 7 consecutive times and was European champion twice. He has also played in the Danish national team the longest of any badminton player in his country.
22. Chen Yufei
Chen Yufei is being eyed as the shuttler who will get her country in the most dominant spot in badminton once again. The young player is set on the right path, winning the titles in the 2016 Badminton Asia Jr. and World Junior girls’ singles championships. She has also won the 2016 Macau Open Grand Prix top prize, her first senior title. She became World No. 1 in December 2017.
23. Akane Yamaguchi
Akane Yamaguchi was still in primary school when she won the 2010 national junior championship. She followed this up with 2014 and 2017 wins. The diminutive Fukui native also clinched the top spot at the 2018 Asian Games. Yamaguchi was the first shuttler from Japan to become the BWF womens’ singles No. 1. Her name comes from the Japanese term akaneiro, which refers to a shade of red.
24. Ratchanok Intanon
Ratchanok Intanon is the first Thai player to reach the No. 1 rank in womens’ singles in 2013. She started her international career quite young, at just 13 years old. At 14, she won her first singles’ international title at the Vietnam International Challenge. She also became the BWF World Junior Champion the same year, hitting the record books as the youngest player ever to win that title. In 2011, she again set a record as the first player to win the World Junior Championships thrice.
25. Kim Ga-Eun
South Korea’s Kim Ga-Eun has been part of the South Korean national team since 2016. She has won two bronze medals at the World Junior Championships girls’ singles events and has four silvers and a bronze at the Asian Junior Championships. She also won silvers at the Asia Mixed Team and Asia Team championships. In 2017, she won gold in the Sudirman Cup mixed team.