Big winners awarded on BWF’s ‘Night of Nights’

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) handed out its awards for Players of the Year on Monday in Guangzhou, with the biggest honours going to Huang Yaqiong and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon […]

The Badminton World Federation () handed out its awards for Players of the Year on Monday in Guangzhou, with the biggest honours going to Huang Yaqiong and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, all winners of 9 major titles in 2018.

Photos: Luis Veniegra / Badmintonphoto

For the second straight year, the BWF Player of the Year awards were dominated by doubles specialists, with the consolidation even more solid this year, as the only awardees with singles titles in 2018 were the Male and Female Players of the Year.  China’s Huang Yaqiong became the second straight doubles player to be named Female Badminton Player of the Year, putting her in the select company of last year’s winner Chen Qingchen, as well as the great Zhao Yunlei, who won in 2014 after becoming the first ever win win a doubles double at the World Championships, and Gao Ling, who was named Eddy Choong Player of the Year back in 2001, when the honour was not separated by gender.  Five other female doubles players have been similarly awarded in the last 20 years but always jointly with one of their partners.

Huang Yaqiong is also the second straight player helped repeatedly to the podium by 2015’s Eddie Choong Most Promising Player of the Year Zheng Siwei (pictured right).  Zheng was nominated for Male Player of the Year this year but was denied the honour by the only doubles pair who won as many titles this year as he did.

For the second straight year, the Male Players of the Year are Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (pictured top, with the entire Indonesian contingent).  They won 8 World Tour titles plus the Asian Games gold, while Zheng and Huang won 7 World Tour titles, Asian Games gold, and the World Championship.

“It’s a great honour to win this for the second straight time. It’s an inspiration for us to keep working hard. We did well all through the season but I would say our highlight was winning the Asian Games gold,” Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo was quoted in a BWF press release as saying.

The same press release quoted Huang Yaqiong as saying, “I’m very excited. Last year I was nominated for the award but I missed it. This time I finally won this award and I feel really happy. My highlight this year must be the World Championships gold in Nanjing.”

Going further than last year, even the Eddie Choong Most Promising Player of the Year honours went to a doubles pair, 20-year-old French Open winners Han Chengkai / Zhou Haodong (pictured).  It is the 3rd time in 4 years that this award has been given to a doubles player – since Zheng Siwei was the first in 2015 – but it is the first time that it has gone to one doubles pair jointly.

“This award is of great significance to us,” Han Chengkai told the BWF. “This was a year in which we showed great improvement in our performances. We had great results at the China Open and the French Open. This will inspire us to get better.”

Even the Para-Badminton Players of the Year followed the doubles trend.  Although Jack Shephard and Leani Ratri Oktila (pictured right) play both singles and doubles, the fact remains that both players won more doubles than singles titles in 2018.  Oktila won doubles doubles at the Asian Para Games, and at the Australia Para-Badminton International but she also won triple crowns at the Para-Badminton Internationals in Dubai, Ireland, and Thailand.  Shephard won SS6 men’s singles and doubles titles at the European Para-Badminton Championships and also at the Para-Badminton Internationals in Spain, Dubai, Japan, and Ireland, but in Thailand, he won doubles and was relegated to runner-up in singles.

“I’m feeling honoured and proud of myself for what I’ve achieved this year,” said Shephard. “And just to be named Male Para-Badminton Player of the Year, ahead of the amazing other players, is a great achievement. I think it’s the biggest award in para-badminton, and I believe I’m the first SS 6 (Short Stature) player to win it, it’s an amazing feeling.”

The Most Improved Player award once again went to a Japanese pair who excelled at the World Championships and won their first event.  Last year’s recipients, Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota, reached the final at the Worlds and won the Malaysia Open, improving their from 20th to 4th in the world.  This year, Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara (pictured below) followed in their footsteps, going from #14 to #3 in the world after winning the Worlds and snatching the French Open title.

Past BWF award winners

  Male Player of the Year Female Player of The Year
2018 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo Huang Yaqiong
2017 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo Chen Qingchen
2016 Lee Chong Wei Misaki Matsutomo / Ayaka Takahashi
2015 Chen Long Carolina Marin
2014 Chen Long Zhao Yunlei
2013 Lee Chong Wei Li Xuerui
2012 Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng Wang Yihan
2011 Lee Chong Wei Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang
2010 Lee Chong Wei Wang Xin
2009 Lee Chong Wei Wang Yihan
2008 Lin Dan Zhou Mi
Eddie Choong Player of the Year
2007 Lin Dan
2006 Lin Dan
2005 Taufik Hidayat
2004 Taufik Hidayat
2003 Kim Dong Moon / Ra Kyung Min
2002 Kim Dong Moon
2001 Gao Ling
2000 Candra Wijaya
1999 Camilla Martin
1998 Peter Gade

BWF Para-Badminton award winners

  Male Player of the Year Female Player of the Year
2018 Jack Shephard Leani Ratri Oktila
2017 Kim Jung Jun Amnouy Wetwithan
2016 Lucas Mazur Karin Suter-Erath
2015 Lee Sam Seop Helle Sofie Sagoy

Additional awards

  Eddie Choong Most Promising Player of the Year Most Improved Player
2018 Hang Chengkai / Zhou Haodong Mayu Matsumoto / Wakana Nagahara
2017 Chen Yufei Yuki Fukushima / Sayaka Hirota
2016 Chen Qingchen Pusarla Venkata Sindhu
2015 Zheng Siwei  
2014 Akane Yamaguchi  
2013 Akane Yamaguchi  
2012  
2011 Zulfadli Zulkiffli  
2010 Viktor Axelsen  
2009 Ratchanok Inthanon  
2008 Saina Nehwal  

Related Images:

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