The second half of the year was dominated by big events, with the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games kicking things off in July. Fittingly, a unique year concluded with the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2021 in Huelva. Here are some of the top quotes from this period.
“I made him a promise that he’d see me on the biggest stage. I’m an Olympian now. Ten years I’ve carried this burden and it feels so amazing I can finally let go of it. See you in Tokyo Dad.”
Jason Anthony Ho-Shue honours the memory of his late father after booking his Tokyo berth.
“It’s not fair. I tried many times to get into the top eight and he does it on his first attempt.”
Tse Ying Suet, at her third Olympics, jokes about partner Tang Chun Man’s feat.
“I’m getting older. It’s hard in women’s singles, it’s almost like men’s singles, as it’s fast and not always rallying style.”
“This is the Olympics, my dream came true. My next dream was to win at the Olympics, and that also came true.”
Soraya Aghaeihajiagha after becoming the first Iranian to win a match at the Olympics.
“Well, I’m still a kid, playing like a kid, having fun. Trying to do my best. Can you believe that I’m in the semifinals right now? It’s just amazing.”
Kevin Cordon on his extraordinary run in Japan.
“I was born to be a badminton player. And I had that faith when I was just 13, that I wanted to make history for Indonesia in women’s doubles.”
“It was the Crown Prince of Denmark. Would you believe it?”
Viktor Axelsen on a special phone call he received after becoming an Olympic champion.
“When I woke up in hospital, I realised I didn’t have a hand anymore, (but) I need to finish school.”
“Everyone tells me this. Maybe I’m Mohamed Salah of badminton. He’s my hero and role model. He’s known world over. I want to be like him too.”
Egypt’s Para shuttler Ahmed Eldakrory on resemblance to footballer and countryman Mohamed Salah.
“This particular moment I’d like to dedicate to my wife because she encouraged me to take my anger out on the court. The medal is for my country and the match is for my wife.”
Manoj Sarkar remembers his wife after winning the men’s singles SL3 bronze.
“He sent me a few videos of well wishes through some journalists. I’m so happy Lin Dan remembers me.”
“I’m looking at a silver, feeling like it’s a gold.”
Man Kai Chu sums up beautifully what his men’s singles SH6 medal means.
“The medal is heavier than I thought. I’m very happy and I want everyone to wear it.”
Ayako Suzuki after receiving her women’s singles SU5 silver medal.
“To see that very first shuttle served at the Paralympics is something I will treasure forever.”
BWF President Poul Erik-Hoyer was a proud man at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
“I’m at 90 per cent of my best. My goal is not to return to my previous level – I’m going to get to 120 per cent of that!”
Shi Yu Qi after helping China win the Sudirman Cup.
“This is my first time, and we’ve won this after 19 years, and finally we could take it back home. I don’t know what to say, I cannot express my feelings.”
Hendra Setiawan finally adds a Thomas Cup medal to his collection.
“It’s also for my big brother, this is for him. He’s inspiring me, I know the difference with him and without him.”
Indonesia’s Thomas Cup hero Jonatan Christie dedicates the success to his late brother.
“At this point, it will be very silly if I say Viktor is going to win. So I will say I will win.”
Kento Momota ahead of the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021 final.
“I had to keep pushing with my legs and that created the big gap between the demons and shadows in my imagination.”
“Oh definitely, tomorrow we are out to kill each other for sure.”
Loh Kean Yew’s tongue-in-cheek reply on how he would approach the Indonesia Open 2021 final against friend and sparring partner Axelsen.
“We kept telling ourselves we didn’t want to lose (in the second). We knew if it went to a third game, we would be dead.”
“I think this is the first and last time I will ever play 50 matches in such a short space of time.”
“I cannot really think. At the start of the year, I just didn’t think this would happen.”
Loh after becoming a world champion in Huelva.