Last year was full of surprises and it turned out to be a big year for some young badminton players. With lots of big games in 2022, both team and individual ones, young players got a chance to show off their skills. This was especially true after the Olympics, as many famous players didn’t play as much in the games that followed. This gave the rising stars a chance to show what they could do at the highest level.
Here are some young players who really caught people’s attention:
Brian Yang (20)
Brian had a big year. He won his first Pan Am Championships and even got to play in the Olympics. He almost beat Chou Tien Chen there. Since then, he’s gotten even better. He won the Denmark Masters and led Canada at the Sudirman Cup and Thomas Cup. He even beat Jonatan Christie and Kanta Tsuneyama.
Kunlavut Vitidsarn (20)
Kunlavut showed everyone what he could do when he came in second at the YONEX Swiss Open. He then beat Kidambi Srikanth and Shi Yu Qi at the Sudirman Cup, and Wang Tzu Wei and Jonatan Christie at the Thomas Cup. He ended the World Tour by making it to the final of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2021, where he beat Kidambi and Lee Zii Jia.
Lakshya Sen (20)
Lakshya had a great year, but he really shone towards the end. He made it to the semifinals at the World Tour Finals and the BWF World Championships 2021. He almost beat his older competitor Kidambi Srikanth at the World Championships, but Kidambi managed to win in the end.
Christo Popov (19)
Christo’s older brother, Toma Junior, did better in 2021, but Christo showed off his skills too. He did well in the few singles games he got to play. He was the only player to take a game off Viktor Axelsen at the Thomas Cup. He also beat Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the first round of the Indonesia Open.
Rachel Chan (18)
Rachel missed 2020 because of the lockdown, but she made up for it last year. She made it to the final of the Pan Am Championships when she was just 17. She played first singles for Canada at the Sudirman Cup and did really well. She was also impressive in the Uber Cup.
Wang Zhi Yi (21)
Wang didn’t get many chances to play in 2021, but she made them count. She helped China win the Uber Cup by winning all of her matches. She made it to the quarterfinals at the Denmark Open and the Round of 16 at the World Championships. She lost to top players (He Bing Jiao and An Seyoung), but she’s determined to make a name for herself.
Line Christophersen (21)
Line made it to four finals in a row – at the Orleans Masters, European Championships, Spain Masters, and Denmark Masters. She also did well at the Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup.
Pramudya Kusumawardana (21)/Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan (22)
This young duo from Indonesia won the Spain Masters and the Belgian International. They didn’t make it to any major semifinals or finals, but they
had some good games that show promise for the future. They beat teams like Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen; Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han; Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto; Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov and Akira Koga/Taichi Saito.
Keep an eye on these young stars. They’re going to be the ones to watch in 2023