Over the past thirty years, badminton has established itself in the program of the Olympic Games. The athlete’s goal is the volan touches the playing field of the opponent. In the process, it is thrown through a strained net using rackets. Depending on the tournament, it can be a single or double athletes game. Worth to mention, badminton was one of the first sports where the participation of mixed couples was officially allowed. There are the following games formats within the Olympic Games:
- single games between men
- single games between women
- men's doubles
- women's doubles
- mixed doubles
Badminton first became a part of the Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona. Then the medals were played between Chinese, Indonesian and British athletes. Previously, badminton appeared at the Olympics as a demonstration sport.
Badminton has great popularity in Asia: China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia. However, Europe does not lag: Great Britain and Denmark are the main suppliers of athletes from Europe. Recently, many talented Spanish athletes have appeared.
Modern badminton is dominated mainly by Chinese athletes: since 2016, they have won 18 gold medals against 7 from Indonesia and 6 from South Korea. This applies to both singles and pairs. Talking the Olimpic games 2020 in Tokyo, the following countries will have a real chance to compete for medals:
- Great Britain
Which of the athletes will be able to challenge the Chinese team? What can the Japanese claim in their homeland? Will Danes or Britons be able to challenge Asian athletes?
Zheng Xiwei is one of the main stars of the Chinese team. This is a young athlete who has already managed to achieve incredible success in professional badminton. At the age of 24, he leads the world ranking of badminton players. He is twice the world champion, won several popular tournaments, and won gold at the Asian Games in 2018 twice.
The famous Chinese athlete, playing mainly in mixed doubles, currently taking first place in the mixed doubles ranking of badminton players. At this Olympics, she will be playing in pair with Zheng Xiwei. Together they have a good chance to get the gold medal.
Earlier, Juan Yacion had already won tournaments of different levels. She became the bronze medalist of the Asian Championship twice, the champion of Asia once. At the 2018 Asian Games, she won gold, playing in mixed pairs. She is twice the world champion in mixed pairs.
Anders Antonsen is one of the main hopes of the Danish national badminton team. At 24, he is in third place in the ranking of the best badminton players in the world. He has very strong chance to strengthen his position by getting involved in the fight for gold in this Olimpic Games 2020. And, judging by Antonsen’s performance, he intends to challenge the best athletes at these Olympic Games.
In 2019, Anders became the silver medalist of the World Cup, in the same year he won the European Games and brought gold to Denmark. At the 2021 European Championships in Kiev, Anders won. It is the last victory that gives hope that Antonsen will continue his victorious path, having won Olympic gold.
Victor Axelsen is one of the leaders of the Danish national team. He is certainly one of the main favorites at singles this Olympics. He is one of the few athletes who already have experience performing at the Olympic Games 2020. He is currently in the second place in the best badminton players in the world list.
Axelsen is the 2017 world champion, winner of the 2014 World Cup and Olympic medalist of the Rio Games. He twice became the champion of Europe, six times - the champion of Europe among mixed teams. Five times - European champion among men's teams.
Speaking about the Chinese team, it’s impossible not to mention another famous athlete. Van Ilu began his international career by winning the World Youth Championship in 2012. He’s very tall, and usually, this is considered a disadvantage for an athlete in badminton, but Wang performs mainly in doubles, so less tall athletes create an ideal balance.
He is the winner of the Summer Universiade in 2015, both in mixed pairs and in men's. In 2018 and 2019, he became the champion of Asia, and in 2018 - the winner of the Asian Games. At the world championships, he did not have the first places yet, but he twice became a medalist.
Another representative of the famous generation of Chinese badminton players. Juan Dunpin has not participated in the Olympics yet but has already managed to win many cups and medals. She performs in mixed pairs with Van Ilu. Together they are considered one of the main candidates for the gold medal.
Juan Dupnpin is a two-time World Cup medalist, two-time Asian Games medalist and two-time Asian champion. With such a track record, she probably wants to add gold medals to her piggy bank.
This British athlete is one of the most experienced badminton players at this Olympics. He performs in mixed doubles with Lauren Smith. During his career, he managed to participate in various types of competitions, but most of the preparation was devoted to doubles competitions.
In 2019, he won the European Games in Minsk, Marcus is the four-time winner of the European Championship. In 2016, he left with a bronze medal from the Olympics in Rio.
One of the leaders of the European badminton ranking, Lauren Smith is clearly counting on success at the Tokyo Olympics. She is expected to perform in mixed doubles with Marcus Ellis and in female doubles with Khloe Birch.
Lauren is the winner of the European Games in Minsk in 2019 in mixed pairs, with second place in women's pairs. She is the five-time medalist in different categories at the commonwealth games and the four-time winner of the European Championship.
Chinese athlete Liu Yuchen is one of the favourites in men's doubles this Olympics. He leads the ranking of badminton players performing in men's doubles, but he has never performed at the Olympic games before.
During his career, he became the world champion in 2018, the winner of the World Cup a year later. In 2018 he won Asian Games and became the champion of Asia twice.
Liu Yuchen's partner will be Li Junhui. Li is in sixth place in the overall world ranking of badminton players. Junhui is considered one of the most talented athletes in China. He repeatedly became the champion of the youth championships of Asia and the world.
Among his main achievements is the victory at the World Cup in 2018 in the category of men's doubles. In the same year, he won gold at the Asian Games. He is the two-time champion of Asia. And in 2017 he won third place in the Asian Championship among mixed teams.
Utah Watanabe is the undisputed leader of the Japanese team at this Olympics (and most likely at the next major tournaments). He is expected to perform in male doubles with Hiroyuki Endo. Watanabe is 24 years old, he is one of the most talented athletes in Japan.
During his rather short career, he already became the champion of Asia in 2019 and the champion of Asia among mixed doubles in 2017. He is the winner of the World Cup and several other tournaments of different levels.
He is one of the most experienced athletes at this Olympics. Hiroyuki Endo is 34 years old, he has repeatedly participated in major badminton tournaments. However, Hiroyuki did not perform at the Olympic Games earlier. He is in fourth place in the male doubles ranking. This makes him one of the main favourites to win if the Chinese face problems during the tournament.
Hiroyuki Endo became the champion of Asia in 2019, and is also the bronze medalist of the World Cup. In 2017, he won the Asian Championship among mixed doubles.
Who do you think will win this Olympics? Take a look at the badminton betting odds comparison for Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 here