What’s the Prime Age for Women’s Singles Players?

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Women’s singles is a very demanding discipline in badminton which requires finesse, power, and stamina among many other aspects. The perfect balance between experience and energy – which comes with age and youth respectively – is required for women to play at their very best. In this post, we’ve gathered data in the top professional tournaments from 2000 to 2021 to determine what the prime age is for women’s singles. Here are the results.

Women's Singles Badminton Match
Women’s Singles Badminton Match
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Statistically, the prime age for women’s singles players is around 21 years old. Results indicate that women still perform very well between the ages of 22 and 24. However, historical results drop off at age 25 and even more so after age 28. This suggests that women singles players tend to achieve their peak performance around the age of 21 to 24 years old in the professional badminton scene.

Prime Age for Men’s SinglesLink
Prime Age for Women’s SinglesLink
Prime Age for Men’s DoublesLink
Prime Age for Women’s DoublesLink
Prime Age for Mixed DoublesLink

To get these results, we collected the ages of all the women’s singles badminton players that won gold medals at the Yonex All England, World Championships, and Olympic Games from 2000 to 2021. The ages that were used to calculate the results represent the ages at which the players won the tournaments. You can see all of the data visualized and organized in tables below.

Women's Singles Badminton Gold Medals By Age

As shown above, the most common women’s singles gold medalist age is 21 years old. However, the average and median ages are 24.1 and 23.5 years old respectively. We can interpret these numbers to say that women singles badminton players have the highest chance for success in their early to mid 20s. The graph above resembles that of the famous bell curve, which suggests that getting results away from the average (24.1 years old) are less likely (i.e. more difficult) the further away you go from it.

Here’s all of the major statistics summarized:

Standard Deviation3.3

Keep in mind that these results only consist of women singles players who have won All England, World Championships, and Olympic Games gold medals from 2000 to 2021. We chose these tournaments because they are among the most prestigious badminton tournaments in the world, but there are certainly many other big tournaments that were left out of the analysis.

It’s also interesting to note the outliers in the results. Obviously, every player who has won a gold medal in such a competitive sport has worked hard and is amazing in their own right. However, players such as Ratchanok Intanon, Tine Baun, and Zhang Ning have truly pushed the boundaries of what is possible in women’s singles.

Ratchanok Intanon won the World Championships in 2013 at the age of just 18, while Tine Baun and Zhang Ning were 33 when they won the All England in 2013 and Olympic Games in 2008 respectively. It goes to show that you should take these results with a grain of salt. While the majority of women singles champions have been in their early to mid 20s, these outstanding players have shown that age, to an extent, is just a number in badminton.

The full datasets used in the analysis above are shown below.

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All England Results

2000Gong Zhichao22.5
2001Gong Zhichao23.5
2002Camilla Martin28
2003Zhou Mi24
2004Gong Ruina23
2005Xie Xingfang24
2006Xie Xingfang25
2007Xie Xingfang26
2008Tine Baun28.5
2009Wang Yihan21
2010Tine Baun30.5
2011Wang Shixian21
2012Li Xuerui21
2013Tine Baun33.5
2014Wang Shixian24
2015Carolina Marin22
2016Nozomi Okuhara21
2017Tai Tzu-ying23
2018Tai Tzu-ying24
2019Chen Yufei21
2020Tai Tzu-ying26
2021Nozomi Okuhara26
Standard Deviation3.2

World Championships and Olympic Games Results

Years 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 are for the Olympic Games.

2000Gong Zhichao22.5
2001Gong Ruina20.5
2003Zhang Ning28.5
2004Zhang Ning29.5
2005Xie Xingfang24.5
2006Xie Xingfang25.5
2007Zhu Lin23
2008Zhang Ning33.5
2009Lu Lan22.5
2010Wang Lin21.5
2011Wang Yihan23.5
2012Li Xuerui21.5
2013Ratchanok Intanon18.5
2014Carolina Marin21
2015Carolina Marin22
2016Carolina Marin23
2017Nozomi Okuhara22.5
2018Carolina Marin25
2019P.V. Sindhu24
2021Chen Yu Fei23
Standard Deviation3.4

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