POLL – Who will be the next golden boy?

There hasn’t been a teenaged men’s singles winner at the Superseries level in over ten years.  Which of the current stable of young men is likely to be next? Photos: […]

Men's singles hopefuls: (from left) 2012 World Junior Champion (JPN), 2013 Asian Junior Champion Soo Teck Zhi (MAS), 2013 World Junior Champion Heo Kwang Hee (KOR), 2013 Indonesia International Challenge winner Jonatan Christie (INA)

There hasn’t been a teenaged men’s singles winner at the Superseries level in over ten years.  Which of the current stable of young men is likely to be next?

Photos: Badmintonphoto

Men’s singles is a man’s game.  When it comes to winning major open tournaments, those under twenty need not apply…any more.

It hasn’t always been this way.  Bao Chunlai , Lin Dan (pictured), and Taufik Hidayat all won major titles – the equivalent of Superseries – before their twentieth birthdays.  Their contemporaries Boonsak Ponsana and Lee Hyun Il had reached finals in the equivalent of Grand Prix Gold events while still in their teens and Peter Gade and Lee Chong Wei had made it to the semi-final stage.

However, in the more than ten years since Lin Dan won the 2003 Denmark Open, just a few weeks before turning 20, the only event above an International Challenge that has been won by a teenager was the 2010 Vietnam Open, a regular Grand Prix event the men’s singles title of which went to Chen Yuekun, less than three weeks before his 20th birthday.

Meanwhile, just in the years since the Superseries began in 2007, titles have been won by teenagers at the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Gold, and Superseries levels in all other disciplines, ranging from 11 in men’s doubles to 36 in women’s singles.  In the same period, men’s singles has seen only 21 appearances in semi-finals by teenagers, nearly half of those in 2013.

The two most likely candidates to replicate Lin Dan’s – or even Chen Yuekun’s – feat both turned 20 this month.  They were 2012 French Open runner-up Viktor Axelsen (pictured) and Xue Song, finalist at both the Australian and New Zealand Opens in 2013.

That still leaves some great young talent but some of those who show promise will be leaving their teens within the year.  The following candidates include teenaged stars of the men’s singles game who have distinguished themselves at either the top junior events or already on the senior circuit.  Among them are two World Junior Champions, 4 Asian Junior Championship finalists, 3 Grand Prix Gold semi-finalists, an International Challenge winner and medallists from the Asian Youth Games and East Asian Games.  In parentheses are the dates on which they will turn twenty.

Which one do you think is most likely to win a major tournament (Grand Prix or above) before his 20th birthday?  Feel free to explain or support your choice in the comment section below.

Who will be the next teenager to win a major men's singles title?

  • Jonatan Christie, INA (2017-09-15) (81%, 1,210 Votes)
  • Kento Momota, JPN (turns 20 on 2014-09-01) (12%, 178 Votes)
  • Lin Guipu, CHN (2017-04-21) (2%, 27 Votes)
  • Soo Teck Zhi, MAS (2015-08-04) (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Sitthikom Thammasin, THA (2015-07-04) (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Heo Kwang Hee, KOR (2015-08-11) (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Soong Joo Ven, MAS (2015-05-19) (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Sameer Verma, IND (2014-10-22) (1%, 8 Votes)
  • Wang Tzu Wei, TPE (2015-02-27) (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Jeon Hyuk Jin, KOR (2015-06-13) (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,497

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net