The Thai shuttlers who have qualified for the Games based on their Race to Tokyo rankings are Ratchanok Intanon and Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the women’s singles, Kantaphon Wangcharoen in the men’s singles, Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the mixed doubles, and Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai in the women’s doubles.
Each country can have a maximum two players or pairs in one event.
Dechapol and Sapsiree, who are third in the Race to Tokyo rankings, are considered Thailand’s best hopes to win the country’s first ever Olympic medal in badminton.
In January, they won three tournaments, including the World Tour Finals, to become the first mixed doubles pair to claim three consecutive World Tour Super 1000 crowns.
Fifth-ranked Ratchanok is also seen as a contender.
Her chance of winning a medal in Tokyo has been boosted by the absence of reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin, who has pulled out of the Games due to an injury.
The top four women’s players at Tokyo 2020 are China’s Chen Yufei, Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying, and Japanese duo Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi.
It will be Ratchanok’s third Olympic appearance, having reached the quarter-finals at London 2012 and last-16 round at Rio 2016.
“Next station Olympic Games,” the 2013 world champion wrote in a social media post recently.
“[I] first took part [in the Olympics] at 17 years old and now I am 26. It will be my third Olympics. Have to reach destination with a medal!”
Jongkolphan and Rawinda could spring a surprise, while Busanan and Kantaphon are ranked outsiders.
The men’s singles competition is led by world No.1 Kento Momota of the host nation. Danish duo Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen, ranked number 2 and 3 in the world respectively, are also ones to watch.
The Tokyo Games, postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to place from July 23 to August 8.