Eras over time, Badminton has been dominated by Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and latecomer countries like India, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Believe it or not The Chinese Wall has been forever in Badminton and that is why four of the greatest 10 players are from China in the top 10 list. China is still dominating the Badminton court with record 161 medals till the last World Championships including 58 gold, 40 silvers and 63 bronze medals.
Number 10: Han Aiping
At number ten on my list is a Chinese Female Badminton player Han Aiping. She dominated the court in 80’s with her superb overhead strokes.
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She won the most women’s singles Open during her career including Japan Open twice, Hong Kong Open four times, Malaysia Open thrice and also won each of Dutch Masters, China Open, Swedish Open and German Open. Inducted in Badminton Hall of Fame in 1988 she was wonderful to watch on court.
Number 9 & 8: Peter Høeg Gade & Morten Frost Hansen
There are two Danish badminton players Morten Frost Hansen and Peter Høeg Gade who are standing at 8th & 9th position respectively. In the years when Asian countries dominated the badminton court perhaps they were the only two European players who were able to stand apart.
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Morten spent twelve years in the top three positions of the world ranking. Nicknamed Mr Badminton Morten he won every international championship except the World Badminton Championship. Winner of the four All-England Open Badminton Championship Morten also achieved the Nordic Championship for a record seven times. He also won Denmark Open for consecutive seven times.
His countryman and former world number 1 Peter Hoeg Gade was famous for his smooth footwork and trademark shot, the Double Action. Five time European Champion also achieved three gold medals in the European Team Championships. He also achieved bronze medal just before his retirement at 2012 Wuhan Thomas and Uber Cup.
Number 7: Tony Gunawan
Another Badminton player who demolished the Chinese wall is Tony Gunawan from Indonesia. After retirement he has been a successful coach. He represented Indonesia from 1992 to 2001.
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With 358 international titles he is the most successful doubles player in the world. Playing with three different partners he won gold in men’s double 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, titled 2001 Seville World Championships and Anaheim 2005 World Championships. Also, he won All-England Open with his partner Halim Haryanto in 2001.
Number 6: Li Lingwei
The next champion is from China, Li Lingwei. An amazing all-rounder who dominated the badminton court with her net play was considered greatest of all. Inducted in the international Badminton Hall of Fame in 1998 she won 3 gold medals and two silver medals in BWF World Championships in 1985 and also achieved the World Grand Prix singles title.
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With her doubles partner Han Aiping she dominated the international circuit of Badminton.
Number 5: Rudy Hartono
Standing at fifth position is Rudy Hartono who is the greatest sportsmen and wonderful badminton player of all time. This former Indonesian badminton player was at career high in 60’s & 70’s when he won world’s oldest badminton championship – All England Championship for eight times with record seven consecutive wins from 1968 to 1974.
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Playing in his maiden BWF World Championships he won the title at 2nd IBF World Championships in 1980. When the badminton was first introduced in 1972 Munich Summer Olympics game, he earned men’s singles title.
Number 4: Taufik Hidayat
The retired Indonesian badminton player Taufik Hidayat is the fourth best player in the Badminton era as he holds the record of fastest smash of 305 km/hr in 2006 world championships. Started very young he hold the record of winning Indonesian Open six times. Famous for his rivalry against Lin Dan the duo were called ‘arch rivals’ by popular medals.
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In his career he has won three gold, two silver and a bronze medal in Asian Championships, a gold, a silver and two bronze medal in World Championships, 2 gold, a silver and three bronze medal in Thomas Cup, a silver and two bronze medals in Asian Games and Men’s singles title at 2004 Athens Olympic games.
Number 3: Gao Ling
Regarded as the most successful doubles player Chinese female Badminton Player Gao Ling is the next greatest player in line. She is famous for her anticipation, consistency and ever smiling face. She dominated the Badminton era in mixed and women’s doubles match winning two gold, one bronze and one silver in Olympics.
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Her other feathers in the cap are four gold medals in Badminton World Championship, three gold medals in Sudirman Cup and five gold medals in Uber Cup. Along with her women’s doubles partner Huang Sui scripted history by winning six consecutive titles at the All-England Championships from 2001 to 2006.
Number 2: Lee Chong Wei
The second best player is none other than Malaysian giant Lee Chong Wei. It all started on 21st August 2008 when he became the only Malaysian player to hold World No. 1 rank for a record consecutive 199 weeks. The rivalry of Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei on court is famous as their friendship off court.
It was Lee who was defeated twice in the consecutive Men’s Single Olympic Badminton final by Lin Dan on his quest to won the gold medal. Denied gold medal in 2008 & 2012 he lost 2016 Olympic final to another Chinese player to settle for silver.
Named BWF player of the year four times Lee has won gold medal at 2006 Asian Championship, three silver and bronze in World Championships, four gold medals in Commonwealth Games, silver and three bronze medals in Thomas cup and gold and silver medal in Southeast Asian Games.
Number 1: Lin Dan
My personal favorite, Legendary Chinese Badminton player Lin Dan is at the No. 1 spot and why not, he is regarded as the greatest men’s singles player of all time by many. By the age of 28 the smash king won all nine major titles in the international badminton and completed the “Super Grand Slam”.
Throughout his career it is very rare that he has won bronze medal and that is why he is “Super Dan’. His amazing achievements include two back to back gold medals in Olympics, 5 gold and a silver in World Championships, 2 gold medal in Badminton World Cup, 5 gold and 2 bronze medal in Thomas Cup, 3 gold medal in Asian Games, 3 gold medal in Asian Championships and the title of Hong Kong East Asian Games in 2009.
The list doesn’t end here there are many names but at the same time there are upcoming names from other parts of world that will surely rule the badminton world some day. Carolina Marin, Jan O Jorgensen, Viktor Axelsen, Ratchanok Intanon, Pusarla V Sindhu, Akane Yamaguchi, Saina Nehwal, Misaki Matsutomo/ Ayaka Takahashi and Chris Adcock/ Gabrielle Adcock are the few names to watch for future.