By Katie Falkingham, Sportsbeat
With World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying having declined her invitation to compete at the Total BWF World Championships in favour of the World Universiade, the race for the women’s singles title has been well and truly blown open.
Following her six straight title victories earlier this year, the Chinese Taipei shuttler would have been one of, perhaps even the favourite to seal the gold medal in Glasgow come August 27.
But there’s one player who will no doubt grasp the opportunity with both hands, just as she has at the previous two editions of the World Championships.
Enter Carolina Marin, back-to-back world champion and current Olympic gold medallist.
It’s already been a season of highs and lows for the 24-year-old Spaniard, European gold the highlight following a string of silver-medal placings earlier this year.
Her fiery, often possessed-like temperament on court has made her a standout performer, her screams upon hitting the shuttle ensuring all eyes are on her.
Still in her early twenties, it’s clear that there is still plenty more to come from Marin, but she’s not the only one gunning for gold in Glasgow.
Prior to Marin’s double domination of the World Championships, it was Ratchanok Intanon with the gold medal hanging from her neck – winning in 2013 aged just 18.
It hasn’t been the best of years for her thus far, victory at her home Thailand Open her only triumph of 2017 so far.
She’s slipped from the top of the rankings to ninth in little over a year, but write her off at your peril – Intanon has got plenty more to give.
Another with years ahead of her is P.V. Sindhu, who, at 22, is already a two-time bronze medallist at the World Championships.
Silver in Rio last summer propelled her to new heights within the badminton world – becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal.
Ranked fifth in the world rankings behind Marin, Sindhu has two victories under her belt already this year, and only time will tell when she gets her hands on the World title that is inevitably coming her way.
Also among the favourites is Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi, who currently resides second in the standings, with Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun one place below.
Yamaguchi’s only win this season, albeit by walkover, came back in February at the German Open, reaching only two finals since that date.
Sung, on the other hand, has reached only one final in 2017, but a world title is well within the reach of them both – a remarkable showing of badminton inevitably ahead.
The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.
It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport.
Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets