2021 was a year filled with surprises, some players missed the with year due to injury, and some missed due to COVID.
Nevertheless, the year gave some players a much needed break to make a mark for themselves. Because of some peculiar conditions the past season gave opportunity for few youngsters to achieve big. Here is a list of shuttlers who you can follow in 2022.
Loh Kean Yew
The Singaporean in November beat then world no.1 Kento Momota at the Indonesia Open and made everyone to standup and notice. He rose to fame after his BWF World Championships win in December. Became the first Singaporean to do so. But, until the Bali leg Loh was never considered in the top league.
The Japanese shuttler returned to court after a dismal performance at the Tokyo Olympics. Yamaguchi came back with a bang, won the Denmark Open. She had a good run of results in the European leg and also at the Indonesia badminton festival in Bali.
At the World Championships in Spain, she showed no sign of fatigue despite playing for more than 50 days of competitive badminton. Yamaguchi was playing her eighth successive tournament, and beat Tai Tzu Ying to clinch her career’s biggest title.
The Korean women’s singles player has put up some colossal potential in the last year. She along with Akane Yamaguchi set up an interesting rivalry, played each other eight times in the last two years. The Korean had a fantastic run at the Indonesia Badminton festival in Bali winning all the 3 title along with the BWF World Tour Finals.
The Indian was consistent all year long. He was prolific in the last quarter of the previous season. He finished the year with semifinals at the World Tour Finals and the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021. He was unfazed on his semifinals match at the World Championships against compatriot Kidambi Srikanth. Sen nearly outplayed his senior before the former world no.1 dug deep to deny him the title shot. Sen walked away with a bronze medal from the World Championships.
The Thai youngster performance at the YONEX Swiss Open was just an indication of brilliance and about things to come. Beating Shi Yu Qi & Kidambi Srikanth at the Sudirman Cup, and Wang Tzu Wei & Jonatan Christie at the Thomas Cup, again proved that he is not just a one time wonder. He closed the year with year another superb performance at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2021, made to the finals against Viktor Axelsen by against beating Srikanth and Lee Zii Jia.
Sapsiree & Dechapol
Thailand’s mixed doubles world no.1 pair Sapsiree Taerattanachai & Dechapol Puavaranukroh achieved a unique feat last year. They played fifty consecutive matches in seventy-five days, featured in six BWF tournaments, and won four out of five finals. They even walked away with a gold medal from the BWF World Championships.
Kusumawardana & Yacob Rambitan
The Indonesian men’s doubles duo Pramudya Kusumawardana & Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan chalked out some impressive performances in 2021, though they weren’t in major semifinals or finals, they won the Spain Masters and the Belgian International. 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 are some of the opponents they trounced last season.