Top Badminton Countries in 2016

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If you’ve been hooked on the sport for the last few years, you’ll agree that 2016 was a triumphant year for many badminton countries. As every country tried its hand at placing some of its players in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Rankings, only a few nations were worthy of the title “the best badminton countries in 2016.” Which countries reigned at the top of the rankings in 2016?

In December 29, 2016, China reigned supreme as the most well-represented badminton nation with numerous accolades and championships across all categories. Denmark emerged as another remarkable contender in the badminton arena in 2016. Led by stalwarts such as Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in men’s doubles and Jan O. Jorgensen in men’s singles, Denmark left an indelible mark, etching their name among the top badminton countries of the year. In third came South Korea, a nation renowned for its badminton heritage. Whether it was in women’s singles, men’s doubles, or mixed doubles, South Korean players displayed their trademark agility, speed, and strategic prowess. Japan shared third place with South Korea. With rising stars like Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi dominating the women’s doubles category, Japan celebrated remarkable achievements, showcasing their growing influence in the sport. Indonesia also held on to its third-place position with its players still in the rankings.

For the other countries that made my 2016 list, check out the table below!

RankCountryMSWSMDWDXDTotal Players/ Teams
3South Korea110215
6Chinese Taipei110002
7Hong Kong100001

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Comparisons From the 2015 Rankings

At the national level, only a few things changed as Chinese players populated the World Rankings across all five badminton disciplines. The only notable change was the exit of the Netherlands from the women’s doubles rankings.

By the start of 2016, Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek dropped to 12th place, losing their position as ninth in the women’s doubles rankings. As a result, the country was no longer in the 2016 rankings.

Also, Hong Kong lost its foothold in the mixed doubles rankings at the start of 2016. By January 2015, Chau Hoi Wah and Lee Chun Hei Reginald relinquished their 2015 number 10 spot to the up-and-coming Thai team of Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai.

Perhaps the most noticeable change of 2016 relative to 2015 was the dethroning of China in the men’s singles discipline. In 2015, Chen Long reigned as the men’s singles top dog, with three of his compatriots occupying the other spots.

By December 2016, China lost its top position in the men’s singles rankings as the Malaysian GOAT Lee Chong Wei leapfrogged his Chinese counterpart to reign atop the men’s singles division.

2016’s Best Players From Different Badminton Countries

Are you interested in seeing the finest badminton talents from 2016’s best badminton powerhouses? Look no further as we delve into the standout players and teams from the top 10 badminton nations, along with their impressive medal counts for the year!

Men’s Singles

In 2016, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei was the number one ranked men’s singles player in BWF World Rankings. He reigned at the top of the rankings for a significant portion of 2016, holding it for more than 17 weeks.

RankPlayerCountryGold MedalsSilver MedalsBronze Medals
1Lee Chong WeiMalaysia410
2Jan O. JorgensenDenmark140
3Viktor AxelsenDenmark210
4Son Wan HoSouth Korea130
5Chen LongChina130
6Lin DanChina300
7Tian HouweiChina020
8Chou Tien ChenChinese Taipei120
9Ng Ka Long AngusHong Kong100
10Shi Yu QiChina300

Women’s Singles

2016 saw Tai Tzu Ying clutching the top spot in the women’s singles World Rankings.

RankPlayerCountryGold MedalsSilver MedalsBronze Medals
1Tai Tzu YingChinese Taipei420
2Carolina MarinSpain100
3Sung JihyunSouth Korea320
4Sun YuChina050
5Ratchanok IntanonThailand400
6P.V. SindhuIndia220
7Akane YamaguchiJapan200
8Li Xue RuiChina210
9He Bing JiaoChina400
10Saina NehwalIndia100

Men’s Doubles

Malaysia’s Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong are up several places from their 2015 positions to reign atop the rankings in 2016.

RankPlayersCountryGold MedalsSilver MedalsBronze Medals
1Goh V Shem
Tan Wee Kiong
2Marcus Fernaldi Gideon
Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo
3Takeshi Kamura
Keigo Sonoda
4Mathias Boe
Carsten Mogensen
5Chai Biao
Hong Wei
6Li Jun Hui
Liu Yu Chen
7Angga Pratama
Ricky Karanadasuwardi
8Mads Conrad-Petersen
Mads Pieler Kolding
9Vladimir Ivanov
Ivan Sozonov
10Fu Haifeng
Zhang Nan

Women’s Doubles

Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi had an exceptional year, achieving remarkable success and consistently performing at a high level in various tournaments. They clinched the gold medal in women’s doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics, solidifying their status as the top-ranked pair in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Rankings for that year.

RankPlayerCountryGold MedalsSilver MedalsBronze Medals
1Misaki Matsumoto
Ayaka Takahashi
2Kamilla Ryter Juhl
Christinna Pedersen
3Jung Kyung Eun
Shin Seung Chan
South Korea320
4Chang Ye na
Lee So Hee
South Korea120
5Nitya Krishinda Maheswari
Greysia Polii
6Chen Qing Chen
Jia Yi Fan
7Luo Ying
Luo Yu
8Naoko Fukuman
Kurumi Yonao
9Shizuka Matsuo
Mami Naito
10Puttita Supajirakul
Sapsiree Taerattanachai

Mixed Doubles

Zhang Si Wei and Chen Qing Chen were the only Chinese team to finish 2016 at the top of the rankings. The powerhouse duo won the Thailand Masters and finished the year strong by dominating the World Superseries Finals.

RankPlayerCountryGold MedalsSilver MedalsBronze Medals
1Zheng Si Wei
Chen Qing Chen
2Ko Sung Hyun
Kim Ha Na
South Korea430
3Tontowi Ahmad
Liliyana Natsir
4Joachim Fischer Nielsen
Christinna Pedersen
5Praveen Jordan
Debby Susanto
6Chan Peng Soon
Goh Liu Ying
7Lu Kai
Huang Ya Qiong
8Chris Adcock
Gabrielle Adcock
9Tan Kian Meng
Lai Pei Jing
10Bodin Isara
Savitree Amitrapai

China: Dominant and Well-Represented in 2016

The presence of more than 14 Chinese players in the rankings highlights the country’s dominance in badminton. With four players in the men’s singles rankings, it’s easy to see where the country excels. Nevertheless, the country remains well-represented in other disciplines — particularly in women’s singles and men’s doubles.

Men’s Singles

  1. Chen Long | Age: 27 | Rank: 5 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 3, 3rd/4th: 0 | Outpaces opponents with his smash-heavy game and fast-paced footwork
  2. Lin Dan | Age: 33 | Rank: 6 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Specializes in precision shots made more dangerous by his athleticism, precision, and well-rounded tactics
  3. Tian Houwei | Age: 24 | Rank: 7 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has a balanced approach, enabling him to shift from defense to offense in a heartbeat
  4. Shi Yu Qi | Age: 20 | Rank: 10 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has an aggressive smash-heavy style that makes him a threat to opponents

Women’s Singles

  1. Sun Yu | Age: 22 | Rank: 4 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 5, 3rd/4th: 0 | Catches opponents off-guard with lightning-fast reflexes and well-placed shots near the ends of the court
  2. Li Xue Ri | Age: 25 | Rank: 8 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Plays a counterattacking style based on precision returns and long clears
  3. He Bing Jiao | Age: 19 | Rank: 9 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has a counterattack-heavy game featuring a wide repertoire of shots

Men’s Doubles

  1. Chai Biao and Hong Wei | Ages: 26 and 27 | Rank: 5 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Outpace teams with their cooperative net play and diverse front-court tactics
  2. Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen | Ages: Both 21| Rank: 6 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Capitalize on their reach to deliver steep powerful smashes on their opponents

Women’s Doubles

  1. Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan | Ages: Both 19 | Rank: 6 | 1st: 5, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Specialize in counterattacking and using their coverage to present opponents with various defensive obstacles.
  2. Luo Ying and Luo Yu | Ages: Both 25 | Rank: 7 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Dominate rallies with aggressive attacks and court coverage for defense

Mixed Doubles

  1. Zheng Si Wei and Chen Qing Chen | Ages: Both 19 | Rank: 1 | 1st: 7, 2nd: 4, 3rd/4th: 0 | Exceptional defensive play that outlasts opponents in rallies
  2. Lu Kai and Huang Ya Qiong | Ages: 24 and 22 | Rank: 7 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Demonstrate great agility, speed, and footwork, allowing them to move around the court and cover all areas effectively swiftly

Denmark: Still in Second Place With All Players From 2015 Still in the Rankings

Denmark retained its spot as one of the top badminton countries in the world. In 2016, the country’s best talent remained in the World Rankings. However, like with the country’s 2015 rankings, Denmark still lacked representation in the women’s singles division.

Men’s Singles

  1. Jan O. Jorgensen | Age: 29 | Rank: 2 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 4, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has a blend of tactical intelligence, consistency, and defensive resilience
  2. Viktor Axelsen | Age: 22 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Capitalizes on his reach to deliver steep and powerful smashes at blinding speed

Men’s Doubles

  1. Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen | Ages: 36 and 33 | Rank: 4 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Possess strong smashes and aggressive shots that keep opponents on the back foot
  2. Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding | Ages: Both 28 | Rank: 8 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Possess an adaptable style that enables them to switch tactics depending on their opponents’ styles

Women’s Doubles

  1. Kamilla Ryter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen | Ages: 33 and 30 | Rank: 2 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have a keen sense of placement and can execute accurate drops, drives, and net shots

Mixed Doubles

  1. Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen | Ages: 38 and 30 | Rank: 4 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Bring experience and endurance to each game to outlast younger and more athletic teams

South Korea: Down One Place With the Country’s Exit From the Men’s Doubles Rankings

South Korea had three men’s doubles teams in 2015 in the rankings. However, by the end of 2016, all men’s doubles pairs exited the rankings, leaving South Korea with no representation in the said discipline. Despite the loss of teams in the men’s doubles rankings, South Korea had new talent in the men’s singles discipline in Son Wan Ho.

Men’s Singles

  1. Son Wan Ho | Age: 26 | Rank: 4 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 3, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has effective court coverage and counterattacking prowess that make him a threat in long rallies

Women’s Singles

  1. Sung Jihyun | Age: 25 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Specializes in powerful and precision shots close to the net

Women’s Doubles

  1. Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan | Ages: 26 and 22 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Showcase a balanced style of play characterized by solid defense, tactical awareness, and effective teamwork
  2. Chang Ye Na and Lee So Hee | Ages: 27 and 22 | Rank: 4 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Dominate rallies with their aggressive attacking style consisting of powerful smashes and strategic clears

Mixed Doubles

  1. Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na | Ages: 29 and 27 | Rank: 2 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 3, 3rd/4th: 0 | Combine power, speed, tactical awareness, and effective teamwork for a dangerous effect

Japan: Down to Third Place With Okuhara and Momota’s Departures From the Rankings

2016 saw two Japanese shuttlers leave the rankings — Nozomi Okuhara and Kento Momota. Nevertheless, Japan continued to be dominant in women’s doubles with three teams in the World Rankings.

Women’s Singles

  1. Akane Yamaguchi | Age: 25 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Outlasts opponents with her endurance and defensive prowess

Men’s Doubles

  1. Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda | Ages: Both 26 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have on-court coordination and synchronized tactics that make this Japanese duo a force to be reckoned with

Women’s Doubles

  1. Misaki Matsumoto and Ayaka Takahashi | Ages: 24 and 26 | Rank: 1 | 1st: 5, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have opposing styles that make them an unpredictable team to play against
  2. Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao | Ages: Both 24 | Rank: 8 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Boast quick reactions and solid defensive positioning, enabling them to retrieve difficult shots and engage in long, intense rallies
  3. Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito | Ages: Both 30 | Rank: 9 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have a patient approach to most matches that allow them to adapt to various opponents on the court

Indonesia: Still in Third Place as It Dominated the Doubles Rankings

Indonesia proved itself again in 2016 as a powerhouse in doubles badminton, with five teams in the doubles World Rankings. However, as in 2015, the badminton country lacked players in the men’s and women’s singles rankings.

Men’s Doubles

  1. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo | Ages: 25 and 20 | Rank: 2 | 1st: 5, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Outpace their opponents with their footwork and mobility, bombarding their opponents with an array of well-placed shots
  2. Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanadasuwardi | Ages: 25 and 24 | Rank: 7 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 3, 3rd/4th: 0 | Favor a defensive style over an offensive one but will exploit gaps with precision shots and tactical net play

Women’s Doubles

  1. Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii | Ages: 28 and 29 | Rank: 5 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Recognized for their strong defense, precise shot placement, and strategic play on the court

Mixed Doubles

  1. Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir | Ages: 29 and 31 | Rank: 3 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Play tactically and aggressively to take advantage of their experience, teamwork, and athleticism
  2. Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto | Ages: 22 and 27 | Rank: 5 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Dominate opponents with strong smashes, quick reflexes, and solid defense to weather rallies and create scoring opportunities

Malaysia: Up Several Places With Better Representation in the World Rankings

Despite a lack of players in the women’s singles and doubles rankings, 2016 was a much better year for Malaysia as three doubles teams entered the rankings. Additionally, 2016 was the year Lee Chong Wei cemented himself as the top men’s singles player in the world.

Men’s Singles

  1. Lee Chong Wei | Age: 34 | Rank: 1 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Boasts a fast-paced attacking style with precision net play and heavy counter-smashes

Men’s Doubles

  1. Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong | Ages: Both 27 | Rank: 1 | 1st: 3, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have seamless communication and synchronization that allow them to cover the court efficiently and execute well-coordinated shots

Mixed Doubles

  1. Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying | Ages: 28 and 27 | Rank: 6 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Combine power, precision, tactical awareness, exceptional teamwork, and defensive skills
  2. Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing | Ages: 22 and 24 | Rank: 9 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 5, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have a court coverage strategy that enables them to retrieve most shots and outlast opponents in drawn-out rallies

Thailand: Improved Their Position With Two Doubles Teams Entering the Rankings

Ratchanok Intanon had always been the lone Thai representative in the rankings, but in 2016, she was joined by two teams — one in women’s doubles and the other in mixed doubles.

Women’s Singles

  1. Ratchanok Intanon | Age: 21 | Rank: 5 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Overwhelms the opposition with quick footwork and heavy smashes from the backcourt

Women’s Doubles

  1. Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai | Ages: 20 and 24 | Rank: 10 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Have a complimentary playing style blending defensive coverage and counterattacking tactics

Mixed Doubles

  1. Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai | Ages: 26 and 28 | Rank: 10 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 1, 3rd/4th: 0 | Can cover more of their half of the court and execute diverse shots from either side thanks to their left and right-handed styles

India: Improved Representation in Women’s Singles With P.V. Sindhu’s Entrance in the Rankings

Despite Kidambi Srikanth’s exit from the rankings, India still had two representatives with P.V. Sindhu’s entry into the women’s singles World Rankings. The country still lacked representation in doubles, as was the case in

Women’s Singles

  1. P.V. Sindhu | Age: 21 | Rank: 6 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has the height advantage, athleticism, and excellent reach to cover the court effectively and retrieve difficult shots
  2. Saina Nehwal | Age: 26 | Rank: 10 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Combines footwork, solid shot placement, and a rare level of mental toughness on the court

Chinese Taipei: Chen and Ying Remained in the Rankings

Chinese Taipei still made its mark on the singles disciplines with Tai Tzu Ying and Chou Tien Chen improving their positions, but the country still lacked teams in doubles just as it did in 2015.

Men’s Singles

  1. Chou Tien Chen | Age: 26 | Rank: 8 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Utilizes impeccable court coverage and return shots

Women’s Singles

  1. Tai Tzu Ying | Age: 22 | Rank: 1 | 1st: 4, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Has natural athleticism and well-rounded physical capabilities that allow her to have an attack-heavy style

Hong Kong: In Last Place Following the Exit of Their Mixed Doubles Team

Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei Reginald and Chau Hoi Wah dropped several places from their number 10 position in 2016. Fortunately, Ng Ka Long Angus salvaged Hong Kong’s position in the rankings by placing ninth in 2016.

Men’s Singles

  1. Ng Ka Long Angus | Age: 22 | Rank: 9 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Takes advantage of his endurance to outlast opponents in long rallies

Spain: Still in Last Place With Marin as Their Sole Representative

Carolina Marin was still Spain’s sole flag-bearer in the World Rankings. The 23-year-old shuttler dropped to second place, trailing behind Tai Tzu Ying.

Women’s Singles

  1. Carolina Marin | Age: 23 | Rank: 2 | 1st: 1, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Favors an attacking style consisting of fast-paced net shots and steep smashes

Russia: A Newcomer to the Rankings

Russia broke into the World Rankings in 2016. In that year, the duo of Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov ascended several spots to ninth place, becoming Russia’s sole representatives in the rankings.

Men’s Doubles

  1. Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov | Ages: 29 and 27 | Rank: 9 | 1st: 2, 2nd: 0, 3rd/4th: 0 | Generate significant power in their shots, putting pressure on their opponents and creating scoring opportunities

England: Still on Our List With Their Mixed Doubles Team Still in the Rankings

England was still among the top badminton countries with one English team in the mixed doubles World Rankings. Despite slipping one spot lower in 2016, Chris and Gabrielle Adcock continued to bear England’s flag as the country’s sole badminton representatives.

Mixed Doubles

  1. Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock | Ages: 27 and 26 | Rank: 8 | 1st: 0, 2nd: 2, 3rd/4th: 0 | Skilled at intercepting shots at the net and creating opportunities for quick counterattacks

What a Year for Every Top Badminton County!

Without a doubt, 2016 was quite an eventful and unpredictable year for badminton. We witnessed countries making surprising climbs up the rankings while others slipped down. If 2016 shows us badminton fans one thing, it’s that nobody stays on top forever. Luckily, nobody stays on the bottom of the barrel either, as shown by nations like Thailand and Malaysia.

Once again, badminton is a fun and crazy sport to get into as the rankings proved. Join me as we embrace the unpredictability and excitement!

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