Here are the top 6 women's badminton players:
Zhang Ning is considered by many as the greatest female badminton player of all time. Born on May 19, 1975 in Liaoning, China. The Chinese player represented her nation in the Uber Cup from 1994-2006, a record for female players. Her stardom began after winning the French Open in 1994, and subsequently would go on to win the Swedish, Malaysia, Singapore, and Korea Opens as well.
By 2003, she had entered the prime of her career and showed this by winning the gold medal for women's singles at the 2004 Olympics. She would again win gold in 2008, being the only female badminton player to ever win back to back Olypmic gold medals for singles.
She retired after winning gold in 2008, and immediately went into coaching the Chinese national badminton team. Recently, she was fired for the team's poor performance. Ning still will be remembered as one of the greatest female badminton players of all time for dominant play on the international level.
Gao Ling is one of the greatest female badminton players of all time and is most famously known for her outstanding doubles play. Another Chinese player Ling was born in Hubei, China on March 14, 1979. During her career she achieved the most gold Olympic medals than any other female badminton player in history and of all her major wins were in doubles gameplay.
Ling won two gold medals with partner Zhang Jun in the 2000 and 2004 OLympic games. She was also incredibly dominant within the World Championship winning a total of nine medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze). For six consecutive years Ling won the All-England Championships women's double title and was a pioneer member of the Chinese Uber team. Just as Zhang Ning, Ling has a history of dominant play within international competition and is one of the greatest female badminton players of all time.
Li Lingwei is one of the older players on this list, but still earns her spot as one the greatest female badminton players of all time. She was a dominant force within the sport during the 1980s and played alongside Han Aiping, also on the list. She was born on January 4th, 1964 in Zhejiang, China.
Throughout her career Lingwei won three gold medals and two silver medals at the World Championships for both women's singles and doubles gameplay. However she was never able to compete at the Olympic level as the sport of badminton was not introduced into the games until after her retirement.
She also managed to capture a World Prix singles title as well and in 1998 after her retirement was inducted into the Hall of Fame for badminton. In 2012, she was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee and has continued to be a figurehead in the sport.
Carolina Marin is from Spain, and was the first Spanish woman to ever be ranked number one in the World in the sport of badminton. She has come into the spotlight dominating within the sport since 2014, and is the only ranked player who's primarily left handed. She was born on June 15, 1993 in Huelva, Spain.
She is known for her work ethic and unbelievable determination and fight she plays with in every match and has many accomplishments at such a young age. She won the 2014 and 2015 World Championship titles for women's singles and more recently won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games (women's singles) in Rio, Brazil. She is currently the number 8 ranked player in the world and hopes to add to her list of accomplishments as her career progresses.
Wang Yihan is another great badminton player from the country of China, and has shined in international tournaments across the world. Yihan was born in Shanghai, China on January 18, 1988. She began playing the sport at the young age of 9 and her mother was her coach. Quickly her skills developed and in 2004 she was selected for the Junior team, in 2006 she was brought up to the national team and began competing on behalf of team China internationally. She would go on to win a silver medal for women's singles in the 2012 London Olympics and took home two gold medals in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
Throughout her career she was commanding presence at major tournaments and won a total of 28 medals. She announced her retirement after finishing 5th in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, she is currently 32 years old.
Han Aiping played alongside another great on this list, Li Lingwei and is the final player on this list of some of the greatest female badminton players of all time. She was dominant during the 1980s when she played alongside Lingwei, and the two were known as the Queens of badminton. Aiping was born on April 22, 1962 in Wuhan, China.
She began to train in the sport,extremely young at only the age of 10, and five years later played in her first international competition where she performed exceptionally well. When she was 16, Aiping was invited to join the Chinese International team and her career began to take off. In 1979 she won her first gold medal in the World Championships (women's singles) for badminton. However her career was put on hold for two years, when she was diagnosed with "hyperthyroidism" and had to take a break from playing the sport she loved.
She did return and ultimately made a successful return to the sport, going on to win a total of 24 medals across international tournaments throughout the world. After her retirement she was inducted into the Hall of Fame for badminton in 1998 alongsider her teammate Li Lingwei. Unfortunately in 2016 Aping was diagnosed with lung cancer, and just passed away in 2019, after three years of fighting.