How Carolina Marin’s Absence From the Olympics Helps Tai Tzu Ying, PV Sindhu, Nozomi Okuhara, and Chen Yufei

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Tai Tzu Ying, PV Sindhu, Nozomi Okuhara, and Chen Yufei are overwhelming favorites to win gold in Tokyo Olympics.
Tai Tzu Ying, PV Sindhu, Nozomi Okuhara, and Chen Yufei are overwhelming favorites to win gold in Tokyo Olympics.

Kuala Lumpur: The Tokyo Olympic women’s singles competition has been thrown wide open by the absence of the three-time world champion, Carolina Marin after the Spaniard suffered a torn ACL and both of her meniscus on her left knee two weeks ago and had to undergo surgery.

Tai Tzu Ying, Chen Yufei (World No. 2), Nozomi Okuhara, Akane Yamaguchi (World No. 5), Ratchanok Intanon (World No. 6), and PV Sindhu are now the top medal contenders to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo.

With the absence of Marin, Tai Tzu Ying (World No. 1) and Nozomi Okuhara (World No. 3) have become the favorites to win the Olympic gold. The 26-year-old Tai is a technically talented player. No one can beat her when she plays well. But, she tends to commit unnecessary unforced errors which always cause her to lose the game. Her back-to-back loss to Carolina Marin in the Yonex and Toyota Thailand Open finals at the beginning of this year was good examples of Tai’s problems.

Tai Tzu Ying currently holds the record for the most weeks at No. 1 for a women’s singles player in the latest BWF rankings published June 8, 2021, with a total of 167 weeks. Despite her remarkable achievement in the world rankings, her best performances in Olympics and World Championships were reaching the top 16 (lost to PV Sindhu 13-21, 15-21 in the round of 16 of the Rio Olympics) and top 8 (lost to He Bingjiao of China 18-21, 21-7, 13-21 in quarter-finals of the 2018 Nanjing Worlds).

As for Okuhara, not only that she has the home-court advantage in Tokyo, she also produced better results than Tai in big tournaments. Okuhara was a bronze medalist in the Rio Olympics, she also won gold at the 2017 World Championships in Glasgow and bronze at the 2019 Basel worlds. Although she has a height disadvantage, her amazing physical strength, stamina, and running ability have made her one of the fiercest competitors for the Olympic gold.

Meanwhile, the performance of PV Sindhu (World No. 7) of India has deteriorated considerably since winning the 2019 women’s singles world champion. She made the final of the 2021 Swiss Open before losing Carolina Marin 12-21, 5-21. She then lost to Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand in the semi-final of 2021 All England. Early this year, Sindhu lost to Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the Yonex Thailand Open first round. Nevertheless, Sindhu has kept good records in big tournaments in the past 7 years, as she was able to reach at least the top 8 in those tournaments. Winning bronze in the 2013 and 2014 World Championships, top 8 in the 2015 World Championships, took home silver at the Rio Olympics, won silver at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships, and eventually won the gold medal in the 2019 World Championships.

Of course, we can’t count Chen Yufei (World No. 2), Ratchanok Intanon (World No. 6) out as both are very skillful, still in the prime of their badminton career, and definitely strong medal contenders in the Olympics.

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