Celebrating 25 editions of the BWF World Championships

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Lloyd Green

The countdown to the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 in Basel, Switzerland, has begun.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the sport’s marquee tournament. The event has come a long way since its inception in Malmo, Sweden, in 1977, with the tournament having many guises.

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It returns to Switzerland for the first time since 1995 when it was staged in Lausanne. Indonesia was the most successful nation on that occasion winning men’s singles and men’s doubles.

Basel is well-equipped to stage this year’s milestone edition having hosted the Swiss Open for 28 years.

Both the YONEX Swiss Open 2019 (12-17 March) and the TOTAL BWF World Championships will be held at the newly renovated St. Jakobshalle.

We pay homage to 25 golden years of the BWF World Championships with this trip down memory lane:

  • The first individual medals of the BWF World Championships were awarded 29 years after the men’s team championship (Thomas Cup) and 20 years after the women’s team championship (Uber Cup).
  • Lin Dan (featured image) of China was the first to win five titles in a single discipline. The only other player to win five titles was Park Joo Bong of Korea, who won two in men’s doubles and three in mixed doubles.
  • Five past hosts of the BWF World Championships – Switzerland, Scotland, Malaysia, India, and France – have yet to see a player win a title.
  • Almost all titles have been won by players from nations that have hosted at least one World Championships. The only non-hosts who have produced world champions are Thailand and Japan, with one each, and Korea, which has won 10 titles but never hosted the event.

  • In 1995, Jang Hye Ock became the youngest world champion. She was 18 years old; the same age as the World Championships at the time. Some 18 years later, Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon became the youngest ever winner in a singles event when saluting in Guangzhou. Intanon was just 80 days older than Jang had been when she won in women’s doubles.
  • While there are naturally many world champions who have never won Olympic gold, a majority of Olympic singles champions have also never won at the World Championships. Only Taufik Hidayat and Lin Dan have done the double in men’s singles, while Zhang Ning and Susi Susanti (pictured, right) achieved the feat in women’s singles.
  • The only Member Association to win all five titles at one edition of the BWF World Championships is China. They swept the golds in Beijing in 1987, in Paris in 2010, and again in London in 2011, a year in which the Chinese mixed team also managed to win the Sudirman Cup in Qingdao, China.