Okuhara Nozomi

Japan’s Okuhara Nozomi is the undisputed endurance queen in the badminton world, with her ability to withstand long rallies. Ranked number five in women’s singles in the world, she is one of the few shuttlers who have won both the World Junior and the BWF World Championships. 

The Nagano native made her mark at the Japanese National Championships where she set the record as the youngest champion in women’s singles at the age of 16. In 2012, she became the World Junior women’s singles champion when she swept compatriot Yamaguchi Akane in an all-Japanese final. 

A winner of 17 titles from the International Challenge, BWF Super Series, Grand Prix, and World Tour combined, she took her maiden World Championship in 2017. 

2018 was a banner year for Okuhara, winning in Thailand, Korea, and Hong Kong. She played a major role in ending Japan’s long Uber Cup drought, winning all six of her matches in straight games. 

In 2019, she claimed the top rank for the first time in her career despite a string of runner up finishes on the World Tour, as well as Sindhu getting her revenge at the Worlds in Basel.