Who is the best badminton player

The 50 best players of all time

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International 07.09.2016
Who are the best badminton players of all time? [Photos: BadmintonPhoto]
badzine.de selects the 50 best badminton players of all time. But what are the characteristics of a great athlete? Is it the successes or records that last forever? Is it the charisma, the popularity. Or maybe a combination of everything?
Is it even possible to compare players from different eras? Women with men? Can you compare single players with doubles? The only thing you can probably agree on is that you don't agree. Our list is not complete. And never will be. There will be a lack of (important and significant) players, maybe even your favorite players. We don't expect our list to get your complete approval. It should be an impetus for a discussion.

The list was updated on July 9, 2016. New: Carolina Marin (Spain) and Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia). Out: Ardy Wiranata (Indonesia) and Rashid Sidek (Malaysia).

Here our places 50 to 1:

50.Saina Nehwal (India) *

Saina Nehwal woke a sleeping giant with her successes. The 24-year-old is the most popular sportswoman in India and with her bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games she made badminton one of the most popular sports in India alongside cricket. Nehwal has over 7 million fans on Facebook and makes an estimated $ 5 million a year. Has won ten Superseries tournaments since 2009.

49. Mia Audina (Indonesia / Netherlands)

Mia Audina was an absolute world class player at the age of 14. Has reached the final of the Olympic Games twice (1996 and 2004). Accepted Dutch citizenship in 2000 after falling out with the Indonesian Federation. Was known for her spectacular style of play. The 2004 European champion ended her successful career in 2006 at the age of just 26.

48. Finn Kobberø (Denmark)

Kobberø is considered one of the most important doubles players of all time. The Dane won the All-England 15 (!) Times alone. He became a very popular sports commentator on Danish television DR following his career. He died in 2009 at the age of 72 in his hometown of Copenhagen.

47. Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia)

Setiawan was world champion in men's doubles in 2007 and 2013. In 2008 the gold medal was added at the Olympic Games. Still playing today at the age of 31, he continues to be one of the best players in the world.

46. ​​Li Yongbo (China)

Yongbo was twice world champion in men's doubles (1987 and 1989) and won the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games. Yongbo was considered a terrific strategist on the court. Later switched to the coaching business and made China the most successful badmintonnation of all time.

45. Prakash Padukone (India)

The first Indian to climb to the top of the world in badminton. Won the All-England in 1980 and one year later reached the top of the Grand Prix ranking at the time (comparable to today's world ranking, which was only introduced in 1991). Finished his career in 1991 and started a badminton academy. His daughter Deepika is a well-known Bollywood actress and model.

44. Lee Yong-dae (Korea) *

At the age of 19, he became the youngest ever Olympic badminton champion. Won Olympic gold in mixed doubles with partner Lee Hyo-jung in Beijing in 2008. The 26-year-old has now won a total of 36 titles in Superseries tournaments. Is a real superstar in his home country.

43.Svend Pri (Denmark)

Replaced Erland Kops as a European superstar. Was considered a real Asian scare in the 1970s. Won the All-England in 1975 and reached the final of the first World Cup in 1977. Finished his career in 1980 with a bronze medal at the European Championships. Just three years later, Pri ended his own life in his hometown of Copenhagen.

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42. Judy Hashman (England / USA)

Hashman was born Judy Devlin in Canada, but started for the USA and later for England. With 17 titles she is the third most successful player in the history of Yonex All-England. Won the German Open 8 times. Towards the end of her career, she became European champion twice. Lives today as a 79-year-old in England.

41.Wong Peng Soon (Malaysia)

One of the most successful Malaysians of all time. Wong was the first Asian to win the All-England title. Won the prestigious tournament three times (1951, 1953 and 1955). He was able to win the Malaysian Open 8 times. Took the Thomas Cup first with Malaysia in 1948. Died in Singapore in 1996 at the age of 78.

40. Guan Weizhen (China)

One of the most successful doubles players of all time. From 1987 onwards she became world champion in women's doubles three times in a row. Finished her career in 1992 after the Barcelona Olympics. Here it was enough to win the silver medal.

39. Alan Budi Kusuma (Indonesia)

Surprisingly became Olympic champion in 1992. Together with his future wife Susi Susanti, they were considered the dream couple in badminton. As of 1991 in the World Cup final. With Ardy Wiranata, it is considered a pioneer of the golden generation in Indonesian badminton sport, which from 1992 first found its climax in Hariyanto Arbi and later in Taufik Hidayat. Ended his career in 1998.

38. Gu Jun / Ge Fei (China)

Ge Fei and Gu Jun were considered the unbeatable women's duo of the 1990s. Career losses can be counted on one hand. Were world champions together in 1995 and 1997 and won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and 2000. The four-time All-England winners ended their careers in 2000 after the Games in Sydney. Ge Fei was also a successful mixed player (including world champion 1997).

37. Candra Wijaya (Indonesia)

World Champion 1997, Olympic Champion 2000. First played successfully with Sigit Budiarto and later, after his doping ban, with Tony Gunawan, with whom he also became Olympic Champion. His game was extremely varied and Candra mastered the double system "pressing" to perfection. Wijaya was able to generate pressure from all positions. Ended his career in 2007 after a brief comeback.

36. Gillian Gilks ​​(England)

By titles, Gillian Gilks ​​is the most successful European player. Won the European Championship twelve (!) Times between 1972 and 1986. He won eleven All-England titles and was in the 1977 World Cup finals in women’s singles and mixed. Was inducted into the Badminton Europe Hall of Fame in 2014. Lives today in Spain.

35. Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) *

One of the top doubles in the past ten years. His smash is considered one of the toughest ever. Together with regular partner Mathias Boe, he made it to the World Cup final in 2013 and won the Olympic silver medal in London in 2012. Won the All-England for the first time in 2011.

34. Ricky Subagja (Indonesia)

Together with Rexy Mainaky, Ricky Subagja was the most successful men's double in the early 1990s. World Champion 1995, Olympic Champion 1996. All-England Champion 1995 and 1996. Ended his career in 2000 at the age of 29.

33.Sigit Budiarto (Indonesia)

A true artist at the badminton racket. Budiarto was one of the top doubles players in the 1990s and 2000s. World Champion 1997 with Chandra Wijaya. As of 2003 and 2005 in the final. Won the Thomas Cup three times with Indonesia. Had to serve a two-year doping ban from 1998 to 2000.

32. Xie Xingfang (China)

Xingfang was twice world champion in the course of her career (2005 and 2006). The graceful Chinese won the Yonex All-England three times in a row. In 2010 she married her longtime boyfriend, Lin Dan. She ended her career a year earlier.

31. Nora Perry (England)

Perry is one of the most successful European players of all time. The Englishwoman won her first title at the 1980 World Cup, followed three years later by the second triumph with the Swede Kihlström in mixed. The multiple European champion and All-England winner was awarded the MBE (British Order of Merit) in 1984 for her services. Perry sits on the Council of the World Badminton Federation today.

30. Ye Zhaoying (China)

The most dominant Chinese woman in the 1990s and the worst rival of the legendary Susi Susanti. Zhaoying won two world titles (1995 and 1997) and won the All-England three times in a row. After winning the bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics, she announced her withdrawal from active badminton.

29. Rexy Mainaky (Indonesia)

Mainaky was not only the outstanding strategist in what was probably the best men's doubles of the 1990s, but also a real joker on the court. He knew how to entertain the audience very well. Together with regular partner Ricky Subagja, he won Olympic gold and the world title. Mainaky became a successful coach after the end of his career, including in Malaysia and England. Today sports director at the Indonesian Badminton Association.

28. Zhang Jun (China)

Zhang Jun won two Olympic gold medals in his career (2000 and 2004). In 2008 he was allowed to lead the Chinese Olympic team into the stadium as the flag bearer in his own country. In addition, the left-hander became mixed world champion with the Powersmash 2001 with Gao Ling. Today he is part of the Chinese coaching team.

27. Lene Køppen (Denmark)

Køppen was a real star in Denmark in the late 1970s. Today's dentist from the Copenhagen district of Gentofte won two titles at the very first World Cup in 1977. In 1979 and 1980 she won the All-England women's singles. Her daughter Marie Røpke also became a successful badminton player. Køppen has been a bronze statue in the Danish House of Sports since 1992.

26. Carolina Marin (Spain) *

Marin put Spain on the badminton map. Much more than that: Marin became the best European player of all time at the tender age of just 23. World Champion 2014 and 2015, European Champion 2014 and 2016. All-England-Winner 2015. First in the world rankings.

25. Sun Jun (China)

Before Lin Dan was Sun Jun. The Chinese made it to the finals of the 1997 World Championships and became World Champion in 1999. Won the All-England in 1998. Still serves as a role model for many younger players today. He stood out for his attractive and offensive style of play. His career was also marked by numerous injuries. Retired at the age of 25 in 2000 during the Olympic Games.

24. Lilyana Natsir (Indonesia) *

Off-court inconspicuous, but outstanding on the court. Since 2005, Natsir has won a total of three world titles in mixed doubles. She has also won the All-England three times in a row. At the Olympic Games, she has so far been denied the great triumph. The "Queen of Mixed" reached the final in Beijing in 2008. Maybe you will succeed in 2016 in Rio?

23. Thomas Lund (Denmark)

Unmistakable actor of the 1990s. Thomas Lund won two world titles in mixed (1993 and 1995) with different partners. In 1995 he was also in the final of the men's doubles. The Aarhus-born Dane has won over 50 Grand Prix tournaments (the forerunner of today's Superseries series) in the course of his career. Lund ended his career in 1996 and switched to the functionary field. Today is Secretary General of the World Badminton Federation.

22. Cai Jun / Fu Haifeng (China)

China's rise to the best badminton team of all time is inextricably linked with Cai Jun and Fu Haifeng. The duo won a total of four world titles. At the 2012 Olympic Games, they won the long-awaited gold medal. The successful duo is still active today, but is currently playing with various partners.

21. Li Lingwei (China)

The best lady in the 1980s. As of 1983, 1987 and 1989 in the World Cup final, won two titles. Added to this is a triumph in the women's doubles from 1985. Won the All-England in 1984 and 1989. The now 51-year-old has been a member of the IOC Council since 2012.

20. Gao Ling (China)

You can't win more than Gao Ling. A total of four (!) Olympic medals (2x gold, 1 x silver and 1 x bronze) go to the account of the 35-year-olds today. She was also four times world champion. In addition to countless Superseries successes, the Chinese won the Yonex All-England Championships ten times. Finished her impressive career at the China Open in 2008.

19. Poul-Erik Høyer (Denmark)

One scene made the Dane famous: after the semi-final victory over Hariyanto Arbi, he tore his shirt off and celebrated his entry into the finals of the Olympic Games in Atlanta. A scene burned into the collective memories of many Danes. To this day, by the way, the only gold medalist at the Olympics who does not come from Asia. Høyer won the European Championship three times, taking the All-England title in 1995 and 1996. Ended his career in 2000 and subsequently became a successful functionary. First in football and handball before he found his way back to badminton. Høyer became President of Badminton Europe in 2010. In 2013 the presidency of the world association BWF followed. Høyer has also been an IOC member since the end of 2013. Was inducted into the Danish Hall of Fame in 2010.

18. Camilla Martin (Denmark)

Europe's figurehead for women in the late 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium. During her playing days, Camilla Martin was the most popular sportswoman in Denmark, laughing from countless magazine covers. In 1999 she became world champion in her own country. In 2001 she won the All-England Championships. From 1996 European champion three times in a row. In 2000 she won the silver medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Martin, the daughter of a Danish national soccer player, influenced thousands of girls in Denmark to play badminton. Was named Danish Sportswoman of the Year and World Badminton Player of the Year in 1999. Finished her career in 2004 in her hometown of Aarhus. Member of the Danish Hall of Fame since 2013. Today she works as a sports presenter on Danish television (TV3).

17. Tony Gunawan (Indonesia / USA) *

Formative doubles player of the early 2000s. Olympic champion 2000 with Candra Wijaya. World Champion 2001 with Halim Haryanto and World Champion 2005 with Howard Bach. However, he won the latter title not for his home country Indonesia, but for the USA. The fact that he won his three greatest successes with different partners underlines his outstanding position. After the World Cup triumph in Anaheim, she made another comeback with Candra Wijaya.

16. Erland Kops (Denmark)

The most successful player in the 1960s. Kops won the All-England a total of 7 times. When he landed back in Copenhagen on the plane from London in 1958 after his first triumph, 5,000 Danes gathered at the airport to receive the star. The Dane won the German Open six times. The introduction of the European Championship and World Cup came too late for him as he was already in his 40s. Danish Athlete of the Year 1961. Kops was inducted into the Danish Hall of Fame in 1992. Member of the Badminton Europe Hall of Fame since 2013.

15. Liem Swie King (Indonesia)

One of the standout players of the late 1970s. King won the All-England in 1978, 1979 and 1981 and made it to the World Cup final in 1980 and 1983. Later successfully switched to men's doubles. Retired in 1988 at the age of 33. In 2009 a movie ("King") was made about him, which traces the stages of his career.

14. Zhang Ning (China)

One of the most successful women of all time. Zhang Ning won the Olympic gold medal twice (2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing) and became world champion in 2003. She won almost all high-level tournaments, but not a single All England title. She ended her career in 2008 and has been a women's coach in the Chinese association ever since.

13. Zhao Jianhua (China)

Jianhua was one of the best single players of the 1980s. The left-hander is considered to be the prototype of the later generations of successful Chinese single players such as Dong Jiong, Sun Jun or Lin Dan. World Champion 1991. All England Champion 1986 and 1990. Retired in 1992 at the age of 26.

12. Morten Frost (Denmark)

The badminton icon of the 80s. The first European badminton superstar with lucrative advertising contracts. Frost was twice European champion in 1984 and 1986. In addition, he was twice in the final of the world championships. His greatest successes were probably the four triumphs at the All-England Championships. Frost ended his successful career at the 1991 World Cup in his own country. Member of the Danish Hall of Fame since 1992. Danish athlete of the year 1982.

11. Eddy Choong (Malaysia)

A pioneer in many ways. The only 1.57-tall Malaysian has won over 75 international tournaments in his long career, including four All-England Championships and three German Open. Choong, who was successful both in singles and in men's doubles, won the Thomas Cup with Malaysia (then still Malaya) in 1949, 1952 and 1955. In 1997 he was inducted into the BWF Hall-Of-Fame. He died in Malaysia in 2013 at the age of 82.

10. Kim Dong-moon (Korea)

Kim Dong-moon is one of the most successful doubles players of all time. Worthy successor to the legendary Park Joo-bong. The Korean won gold at the Olympics in 1996 and 2000. He also secured the bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Games in men's doubles. In total, the tall Korean was world champion three times and won the All-England Championships six times. Retired from badminton after retiring in 2004 and now lives in Canada.

9. Hariyanto Arbi (Indonesia)

Jump violence single star of the 1990s. Technically perfect and incredibly quick on your feet. Probably one of the first players to celebrate success due to the enormous speed. Pictures that show Arbi in the jump mash are legendary. Arbi from Kudus was world champion in 1995 and won the All England Championships in 1993 and 1994.With Indonesia he won the Thomas Cup in 1994, 1996 and 1998. Ended his career in 1999 by winning the Singapore Open.

8. Peter Gade (Denmark)

Peter Gade is undisputedly the most successful European of his time. Gade was five times European champion (record) and won five medals at world championships. 2001 in Seville he reached the final. In 1999 he won the All-England. He won the Japan Open three times and the Korea Open four times. However, it is not necessarily the successes that make Peter Gade an icon of badminton, but the way in which the now 38-year-old Dane influenced the sport of badminton around the world. Before Lin Dan, he was the first real badminton superstar with lucrative advertising deals and tremendous popularity. Gade won a total of 24 Superseries (Grand Prix) tournaments and was in first place in the world rankings almost continuously from 1997 to 2001. Gade is considered to be the inventor of numerous feint and trick shots. World Badminton Player of the Year 1998. Finished his career in 2012 in Copenhagen. Was inducted into the Danish Hall of Fame in 2016.

7. Rudy Hartono (Indonesia)

Hartono was arguably the most important single player in the 1970s. Won a total of eight men's singles titles in the All-England. Already ended his career, but then decided to make a comeback, which was crowned in 1980 with the men's singles world title. Hartono is still a folk hero in Indonesia to this day. Then finally ended his career in 1983. Indonesian Sportsman of the Century. Was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame in 1997.

6. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)

Alongside Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei is considered to be the outstanding (men's individual) player of the 21st century. He won the All-England four times and the Malaysia Open twelve times. He was in the final of the Olympic Games in 2008, 2012 and 2016. He won three silver medals at world championships; the 2014 silver medal was subsequently revoked due to a doping offense. Despite his numerous successes, he is an all-time runner-up. Retired in 2019 due to cancer.

5. Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia)

Darling, bad boy and diva. Taufik Hidayat was kind of everything in the course of his career. But first and foremost, the Indonesian was a badminton genius. Watching the elegant Hidayat play badminton was always a feast for the eyes. His backhand is probably unique and cannot be copied. Hidayat was Olympic champion in Athens in 2004 and world champion in 2005. Olympic gold made him an icon and a multiple millionaire in his career. He won numerous Superseries tournaments, including the Indonesian Open six times. Only with the All-England it never goes all the way to the top of the podium. In 2013 he ended his career as part of the Indonesian Open Superseries.

4. Park Joo-bong (Korea)

For many experts, the best doubles player of all time. We'll join in, at least for this list, and choose the Korean as the best in his discipline. Joo-bong was five times world champion and won the gold medal in men's doubles at the 1992 Olympic premiere in Barcelona. Four years later, a silver was added in mixed doubles. And that after he had already ended his career in 1993. His impressive collection of titles includes nine victories at the Yonex All-England. After the Atlanta Games, he retired and became a successful coach. First a few years in England, then later in Malaysia and finally in Japan.

3. Yang Yang (China)

Indeed, there was a time when China wasn't a top badminton nation. We're talking about the 1970s. But then a man came along and conquered the badminton world. His name: Yang Yang. The 1.71 meter tall Chinese probably played the most important role in China's rise to a badminton powerhouse. He was twice world champion (1987 and 1989) and won the All-England in 1989. In 1988 he won the gold medal in the demonstration competition at the Olympic Games. In 1991 he ended his career and became a coach in Malaysia, which won the Thomas Cup just a year later.

2. Susi Susanti (Indonesia)

The badminton boom in the early 1990s is inextricably linked with the name Susi Susanti. As a result of the inclusion in the Olympic program, the badminton sport experienced an unexpected boom not only in Asia, but in many European countries. The name Susi Susanti became a household name even for non-badminton connoisseurs. Her appearance in the current sports studio of ZDF in 1993 will not be forgotten. In 1992 Susanti (together with her future husband Kusuma) was received by over 1 million people in Jakarta after winning the gold medal. She became world champion in Birmingham in 1993 and won the World Cup five times (today most comparable to the BWF World Superseries Final). In the All-England she was successful four times. Susanti ended her career in 1998 and retired from badminton. In 2004 she was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame.

1. Lin Dan (China) *

In only a few sports, the question of who is the best of all time can be answered so clearly. What Muhammad Ali is to boxing, Pele to soccer or Michael Schumacher to Formal-1, Lin Dan is to badminton. The Chinese is the best badminton player of all time. His impressive career statistics in short: five world titles, two Olympic gold medals, five All-England triumphs and a total of 42 successes in Superseries tournaments make the 31-year-old an outstanding figure in badminton. In China, Lin Dan is the best-known athlete and probably the best-known sports face on television advertising. No player before him has dominated the men's singles discipline so much. The left-handed will continue at least until Rio 2016. Whether or not he will win more titles by then will not change anything about his status as "best of all time".

* still active players





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