As the year winds to a close, we look at the top five records that were set during an intense and thrilling season:
Kento Momota’s Eleven
Two-time world champion Kento Momota wrapped up an astonishing season with his 11th title from 12 finals, going one better than Lee Chong Wei’s haul from 2010. What made it particularly significant was that his 11th came in Guangzhou at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals a year after he was comprehensively beaten by Shi Yu Qi in the final.
Sindhu Breaks Barrier
She’d fallen at the ultimate step of several big tournaments, but the losses that rankled Pusarla V Sindhu the most were the World Championships (2017 and 2018), the Rio Olympics (2016) and the Asian Games (2018). She finally dispelled those ghosts with her first World title, beating Nozomi Okuhara who had thwarted her in a classic in 2017.
Super Grand Slam
Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong had shown signs of vulnerability after blazing a trail through the first half of the year. Rather unusually for them, they arrived in Guangzhou without a title from their last four events. After a slow start, they hit their stride and captured the season finale, adding to their successes at the World Championships and the three Super 1000 tournaments – giving them a unique Super Grand Slam.
Like fine wine, Hendra Setiawan seems to get better with age. The Indonesian became the oldest player, at 35, to win a World Championships gold when he and Mohammad Ahsan surged to the title in Basel with a display of brilliant skills, opportunism and composure under pressure.
Kunlavut On the Way
After the high of three medals at the World Championships, Thailand had more good news at the World Junior Championships in Kazan. Kunlavut Vitidsarn became the first men’s singles player to win a hat-trick and emulated senior compatriot Ratchanok Intanon who’d achieved the feat in women’s singles.