BADMINTON Preview: World Champs to answer whether China is still the top power in Badminton

China's Olympic champ Long Ma (Photo: ITTF)

A large field of 359 competitors from 45 countries are assembled in the St. Jakobshalle in Basel (SUI) for the 25th BWF Total World Championships. In the year before the Tokyo 2020 Games, the question is whether China can regain its pre-eminent spot in the sport.

There’s no doubt that the Chinese have the world’s top team. Their depth makes this clear. But at the very top end of the sport – the medal-winning end – it’s a closer question. Consider:

2012 Olympic Games: 5 events ~ China won 5 golds and eight total medals
2016 Olympic Games: 5 events ~ China won 2 golds and three total medals
2017 World Champs: 5 events ~ China won 2 golds and seven total medals
2018 World Champs: 5 events ~ China won 2 golds and eight total medals

China is still no. 1, but by a smaller margin. In Basel, of the top five seeds in the five events, Chinese entries earned six spots, but Japan led with nine and Indonesia had four. We’ll see how the medals come out; the top seeds:

1. Kento Momota (JPN) ~ Defending Champion
2. Tien-Chen Chou (TPE)
3. Long Chen (CHN) ~ 2014-15 Champion; 2016 Olympic Champion
4. Jonatan Christie (INA)
5. Anders Antonsen (DEN)

1. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA)
2. Junhui Li/Yuchen Liu (CHN) ~ Defending Champions
3. Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda (JPN) ~ 2018 runners-up; 2017 bronze medalists
4. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (INA) ~ 2013-15 World Champions
5. Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe (JPN) ~ Endo: 2015 bronze medalist

1. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN) ~ 2018 bronze medalist
2. Tzu-Ying Tai (TPE)
3. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN) ~ 2017 World Champion
4. Yufei Chen (CHN) ~ 2017 bronze medalist
5. V. Sindhu Pursarla (IND) ~ 2017-18 runner-up; 2013-2014 bronze medalist

1. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara (JPN) ~ Defending Champions
2. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN) ~ 2017-18 silver medalists
3. Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi (JPN) ~ 2017 bronze medalists
4. Qingchen Chen/Yifan Jia (CHN) ~ 2017 World Champions
5. Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu (INA) ~ 2018 bronze medalists

Mixed Doubles:
1. Siwei Zhang/Yaqiong Huang (CHN) ~ Defending Champions
2. Yilyu Wang/Dongping Huang (CHN) ~ 2018 runners-up
3. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (JPN)
4. Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA)
5. Peng Soon Chen/Liu Ying Goh (MAS)

It’s worth noting that three-time World Champion and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Carolina Marin (ESP) is out after suffering a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in January.

Semifinals will be held on Saturday (24th) and the finals on Sunday (25th). Look for results here.