The Olympics is one of the most prestigious tournaments for badminton players. Every four years, the best badminton players from all over the world are welcomed together for a wildly entertaining competition. In 2021, the Olympic games were hosted by Tokyo; the badminton matches were serious spectacles of international skill.
Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen won in the men’s singles category while the women’s singles category was won by China’s Chen Yu Fei. Wang Chi-Lin and Lee Yang took the Olympic Gold Medal for the men’s doubles category home with them to Taiwan. The women’s doubles category, on the other hand, saw the Indonesian duo of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu take home the Gold Medal. The mixed doubles category was won by the Chinese duo Wang Yi Liu and Huang Dong Ping.
With their victories turning so many heads, many are curious to learn more about these top-of-the-line badminton players — I know I was!
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Viktor AXELSEN in Men’s Singles
The final match in the men’s category came down to China’s Chen Long and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen. It was a thrilling match that resulted in Axelsen decisively beating Chen Long.
Viktor Axelsen is from Odense, Denmark. He began his badminton career in 2006. Three years after his debut as a youth, he won his first badminton title at the 2009 German Junior, followed by a win at the Under 17 European Championships. In 2010, he won his first major badminton championship, defeating Kang Ji Wook for the World Junior Championships. Axelsen became the first European to win this championship. From 2010 until the 2021 Olympics, he has held six gold medals in the singles category and nine in the team category. His most recent gold medal victories were during the 2021 Olympics and the 2022 European Championships, where he defeated fellow Dane, Anders Antonsen.
CHEN Yu Fei in Women’s Singles
China has long been a powerhouse in badminton. In the women’s singles category, Chen Yu Fei showed the world why when she beat Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying to win the Olympic gold medal. The game was a nail-biting spectacle that went to a third game — one that she won.
Chen Yu-Fei is from Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. While she began playing badminton as early as 2013, her first notable victory came a year later, winning silver in the Asian Junior Championships. Much of her gold medal wins happened when she played as part of a team. Chen Yu-Fei bagged as many gold medals as a doubles competitor. Her only gold medal as a singles competitor as of 2021 was from the 2021 Olympics. Despite this, as of 2022, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranks her as the number three best women’s singles player in the world.
LEE Yang and WANG Chi Lin in Men’s Doubles
In its 8th appearance as a medal event since 1992, the men’s doubles category was stacked, consisting of 16 pairs. These pairs represented 14 different nations, among them being the champion duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin defeated China’s Li Junhui and Yu Chen.
Lee Yang and Wang Chi Lin are from Kaohsiung and Taipei, Taiwan, respectively. The pair started playing together in 2019, with the Spain Masters Super 300 being their first outing. In their debut, they beat the South Korean pair of Kim Won Ho and Seo Seung Jae to win the tournament. In 2020, they beat the formidable Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan to win the BWF World Tour Finals. In 2021, they went on to win the Tokyo Summer Olympics, beating Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in two straight games.
The Taiwanese pair’s most recent outing was in the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships in 2021. Unfortunately, the pair lost in the quarterfinal round against the Malaysian duo of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi.
Greysia POLII and Apriyani RAHAYU in Women’s Doubles
The 2021 Olympics had an extremely competitive women’s doubles tournament. At the end of it all, the Indonesian pair of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu took home the gold medal, giving their country its first medal in the category.
Greysia Polii is from Jakarta, Indonesia. Apriyani Rahayu was born in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. The two players started playing together in 2017, with some of their earliest wins being those in the BWF Superseries in France and the BWF Grand Prix in Thailand. The duo also chalked up numerous BWF World Tour wins in 2018, 2019, and 2020 before winning gold in the 2021 Olympics.
The Indonesian pair also played in the 2022 Yonex All England Badminton Open Badminton Championships, making it to the 16th round.
WANG Yi Lyu and HUANG Dong Ping for Mixed Doubles
The finals of the mixed doubles was the only other finals match in the 2021 Olympics to go to a third game. The Olympic Gold Medal for the category went the way of China, as Wang Yi-Lyu and Huang Dong Ping won against their competitors, Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong.
Hailing from Zhejiang and Fujian, respectively, Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping paired up in 2017 for the Asian Championships. Here, they won bronze in their debut outing. They went on to win gold in 2018 and 2019. In those same years, the duo bagged silver and bronze in the BWF World Championships. In 2021, Wang Yi-Lyu and Huang Dong Ping won the gold medal in the mixed doubles category in the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chinese duo were runners-up in the 2022 Badminton Asia Championships, losing to Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong of China — the same pair that they had just beaten in the Olympics.
Who Will Take Home the Gold in the Next Olympics?
The 2021 Olympics has given the badminton world a new set of gold medal winners. It’ll be interesting to see whether the winners of the 2021 Olympics will retain their titles or bow out to rising talents.
Whatever outcome the future Olympic games may bring, one thing is for sure:
We’ll be waiting and watching to see who takes home the gold next!
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