Badminton Players of All Time: Badminton is a popular racket sport played between two players or pairs. They stand on opposite halves of a rectangular court divided by a net. To honor the top badminton players, here’s a list of the best players in history.
Badminton became an Olympic sport in 1992 with five events: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.
best badminton players of all time
Now, let’s look at the top 10 badminton players of all time.
10. Han Aiping
Han Aiping, a legendary Chinese badminton player, is often regarded as one of the greatest in the sport’s history. She holds the 10th spot on our list of the best badminton players ever.
Known for her impressive overhead hits, Han Aiping dominated international women’s singles in the 1980s. She achieved remarkable success, winning three gold medals and three silver medals at world championships. In 1986, she secured the title at the Seoul Asian Games. Additionally, she earned two gold medals at the World Grand Prix and triumphed at the 1979 World Championship version of the World Championships in Badminton.
Throughout her remarkable career, Han Aiping claimed victory at the Japan Open twice, the Malaysia Open three times, and the Hong Kong Open four times. In recognition of her achievements, she was inducted into the Badminton Hall of Fame in 1998.
9. Peter Høeg Street
Peter Høeg Gade, a former Danish badminton star, held the world No. 1 ranking from 1998 to 2001 and reclaimed it on June 22, 2006, maintaining it for a short period.
Renowned for his ability to handle intense pressure and smooth footwork, Gade secured the ninth spot on our list of the best badminton players of all time.
During his prime, Gade became well-known for his signature shot, the Double Action. His achievements include winning the European Championships title five times and securing three gold medals at the European Team Championships.
From the 1999 Copenhagen World Championships to the 2011 London World Championships, Gade achieved four bronze medals at the World Championships, showcasing his consistent excellence.
8. Li Lingwei
Li Lingwei, a retired Chinese badminton player, is widely regarded as the greatest women’s singles badminton player ever and holds the 8th position on our list of the greatest badminton players of all time.
She had a dominant partnership with Han Aiping in international women’s doubles, winning the IBF world doubles title in 1985.
In individual events, Li Lingwei secured the IBF World Championship twice. Throughout her career, she earned three gold medals and two silver medals at the BWF World Championships and also claimed the World Grand Prix singles title.
In July 2012, Li Lingwei furthered her contributions to the sport by becoming an elected member of the International Olympic Committee.
7. Morten Frost Hansen
Morten Frost Hansen, a retired Danish badminton player, was among the top three in the world for twelve years and is considered the seventh-best badminton player ever.
Fans and media called him “Mr. Badminton” because he won many international championships, though he didn’t secure a gold at the Badminton World Championship, getting silver in 1985 and 1987.
People generally agree that he might be the best badminton player to never win a World Championship. Despite this, he won the All England Open Badminton Championship four times in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1987.
His dominance was clear in winning the Denmark Open seven times in a row from 1980 to 1986.
6. Rudy Hartono
Rudy Hartono, a former Indonesian badminton legend, is widely recognized as one of the greatest badminton players in history and is also regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
His remarkable achievements include winning the men’s singles event at the prestigious English Championships eight times, earning him a well-deserved sixth place on our list of the best badminton players of all time.
Rudy Hartono clinched the title at the second IBF World Championship in 1980 in Jakarta in a single attempt. His contributions to the Thomas Cup were equally impressive, securing four gold medals and two silver medals.
Notably, Rudy Hartono emerged victorious in the men’s singles title at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, coinciding with the introduction of badminton into the Olympic program for the first time that year.
5. Lee Chong Wei
Lee Chong Wei, a badminton star from Malaysia and China, holds a significant place in the sport’s history. He is the only Malaysian player to maintain the world number one ranking for over a year, reaching the top spot on August 21, 2008, and impressively holding it for a record 199 consecutive weeks. This achievement makes him the third Malaysian player to accomplish such a feat and earns him the fifth spot on our list of the best badminton players of all time.
Lee Chong Wei’s accolades include two silver medals at the Olympic Games, a gold medal at the 2006 Asian Championships, and three silver and one bronze at the World Championships. Additionally, he excelled at the Commonwealth Games with four gold medals and at the Southeast Asian Games with one gold and one silver medal.
His outstanding performances earned him the Penang Sportsman Award six times, and he received the BWF Player of the Year award four times in his illustrious career. Lee Chong Wei’s achievements and consistency on the court have solidified his status as one of the greatest badminton players in history.
4. Tony Gunawan
Tony Gunawan, the Indonesian badminton player, is widely celebrated as one of the greatest men’s doubles players in badminton history and holds the fourth position on our list of the top 10 badminton players of all time.
Representing Indonesia from 1992 to 2001, Gunawan has since been representing and coaching the United States team since 2001.
His remarkable achievements include winning the 2000 Sydney Olympic gold medal, the 2001 Seville World Championships, and the 2005 Anaheim World Championships, all with three different men’s doubles pairs.
In addition to his success in men’s doubles, Tony Gunawan also secured titles in mixed doubles at the US Open, Taipei Open, Puerto Rico Open, and SCBA Classic. He achieved the pinnacle in the sport by winning the IBF World Championship and the All-England Open in 2001 alongside his partner Halim Haryanto. His versatility and numerous accolades solidify his legacy as one of the all-time greats in badminton.
3. Gao Ling
Chinese women’s badminton legend Gao Ling is renowned for her exceptional skill, unwavering consistency, and keen anticipation on the court. Her ever-smiling face has endeared her to fans, and she rightfully claims the third spot on our list of the best badminton players of all time.
Widely regarded as the most successful doubles player in badminton history, Gao Ling’s achievements are truly remarkable. She secured 2 gold medals, one silver, and one bronze at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. Additionally, she boasts four gold medals from the Badminton World Championships, three gold medals in the Sudirman Cup, five gold medals in the Uber Cup, and the 2006 Yiyang Badminton World Cup title.
Gao Ling’s partnership with Huang Sui was particularly dominant, winning six consecutive women’s doubles titles between 2001 and 2006 at the English Championships. Her outstanding talent and numerous accolades make her an enduring figure in the history of badminton.
2. Taufik Hidayat
Taufik Hidayat, a retired Indonesian badminton star, holds the record for making it to the Indonesia Open six times. Known for his intense rivalry with Lin Dan, they battled for the top spot in the badminton world and became archrivals in popular media.
With 27 international titles to his name until retirement, Taufik Hidayat unquestionably secures the second place on our list of the best badminton players of all time.
His impressive medal haul includes gold, silver, and two bronze medals at world championships. Additionally, he clinched 3 gold, silver, and two bronze medals in the Asian Games.
Taufik Hidayat’s dominance extended to the Asian Championships, where he secured 3 gold medals, two silver, and one bronze, and the Thomas Cup, where he achieved 2 gold, one silver, and three bronze medals. Notably, he also claimed the individual title at the 2004 Athens Olympics, solidifying his position among the badminton greats.
1. Dan Lin | Best Chinese badminton player
Lin Dan, the Chinese badminton legend, is widely regarded as the best badminton player in the world. He made history by becoming the only player to achieve the “Super Grand Slam” at the age of 28, winning all nine major international badminton titles. His fans affectionately called him “Super Dan.”
Lin Dan’s remarkable achievements include 5 gold medals and one silver medal in the Badminton World Championships, as well as 2 gold medals in the Badminton World Cup. He also secured 5 gold and 2 bronze medals at the Thomas Cup, 3 gold medals at the Asian Championships, and 3 gold medals in the Asian Games.
Notably, Lin Dan holds the distinction of being the only player in badminton history to win Olympic gold twice in a row, achieving this feat at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. His excellence on the court earned him recognition as the best male athlete of 2010 by CCTV Sports.
Lin Dan’s legacy in badminton is marked by his unparalleled achievements and the title of “Super Dan” bestowed upon him by his devoted fans.
Playing badminton requires being fit. You need to have good endurance, strength, agility, and be precise and quick. You also have to coordinate well and move the racket skillfully. Successful players in this sport are both talented and work hard.