Ratchanok Intanon (Thai: รัชนก อินทนนท์, RTGS: Ratchanok Inthanon, pronounced [rát.t͡ɕʰā.nók ʔīn.tʰā.nōn]; born 5 February 1995) is a Thai badminton player who became the first Thai to become No.1 in women's singles. She is known for her relaxed hitting motion and light footwork, which has been described as 'balletic' by commentators such as Gillian Clark. She became world champion in women's singles in 2013 at the age of just 18, making her the youngest person to do so.
|Born||5 February 1995|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||58 kg (128 lb)|
|Career record||405 wins, 181 losses|
|Highest ranking||1 (21 April 2016)|
|Current ranking||8 (2 November 2021)|
Ratchanok is credited with pioneering the transition of women’s singles from a very predictable one to the most competitive and interesting of all five disciplines. Prior to Ratchanok’s victory at the 2013 World Championships Chinese players won Women’s singles gold in the past 12 years. According to Badminton expert Gillian Clark, the victory of Ratchanok instigated the belief in players from other nationalities that the top Chinese players aren’t invincible. .  The 2010’s saw a fiercely competitive pool of players emerging from different nationalities with likes of Carolina Marin from Spain, Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) , Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu from India, Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi representing Japan, Sung Ji Hyun and An Se-young from South Korea. Li Xuerui lead the chinese charge in the first half of the decade and was followed by Chen Yu Fei and He Bingjiao.
Ratchanok’s racket skills and easy hitting motion enable her to generate quality into her stroke production. She possesses one of the fastest smashes among the women players. At the 2016 Malaysia Open semi-finals, one of her hits clocked 372kph.
In 2008, Intanon entered the international circuit at the age of 13. The first international tournament she played was the Laos International series, in which she played both singles and doubles. She lost the singles final to Vietnam's Lê Ngọc Nguyên Nhung. Intanon won her first individual international title in 2009 by winning the Vietnam International Challenge when she was 14. She made history by becoming the youngest-ever champion at the 2009 BWF World Junior Championships at 14 in Malaysia by beating her compatriot Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. She reached the final of the Malaysia International Challenge 2009, losing out to Sapsiree Taerattanachai. She also reached the 2009 Southeast Asian Games women's singles final, but lost to her compatriot Salakjit Ponsana.
In 2010, at the age of 15, she successfully defended her title at the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships in Mexico by beating Misaki Matsutomo. Her successful run continued after she won Smiling Fish International Event, beating teammate Rawinda Prajongjai. She won back-to-back Grand Prix tournaments by winning the Vietnam Open Grand Prix (beating China's Zhou Hui) and the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold after defeating Cheng Shao-chieh from Chinese Taipei. In the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, she won a silver medal as a member of the women's team. In the final, she lost to Wang Xin, at that time world number 1.
Intanon participated in BWF World Championships and lost in the third round to eventual winner Wang Yihan. She was a finalist at the Chinese Taipei Open, where she was defeated by Sung Ji-hyun. She became the most successful player ever in individual events at the BWF World Junior Championships, winning the women's singles title for the third straight time by defeating Indonesia's Elyzabeth Purwaningtyas. She won the 2011 Syed Modi Grand Prix where she received a walkover against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in final. She was also a member of the women's team that defeated Indonesia in the final of the 2011 Southeast Asian Games. She herself was a bronze medalist in singles event, where she lost in the semifinals to Singapore's Fu Mingtian.
In 2012, Intanon, at 16 years of age, was awarded the Best Female Athlete Award in Thailand after winning the world junior title for three successive years. She reached the finals of the Thailand Open but lost to Saina Nehwal. After defeating the higher-seeded Juliane Schenk of Germany in round of 16, she reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympic Games where she lost to second seed Wang Xin despite leading 21–17 and 16–9 in the second game. She entered the finals of a Super Series tournament for the first time in the China Open but lost to Li Xuerui 12–21, 9–21. She qualified for the 2012 BWF Super Series Finals and won all of her group matches in straight games against Juliane Schenk, Tine Baun and Saina Nehwal. She lost in the semifinals there to Wang Shixian. She finished the year as world number 9.
Intanon reached the finals of the All England Open, losing to Tine Rasmussen 14–21, 21–16, 10–21. She is the youngest ever singles finalist at the All England Open. She lost in the final of the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold after being defeated by Wang Shixian. She won her first Superseries tournament by beating Juliane Schenk 22–20, 21–14 in the India Open to become the youngest-ever Superseries winner at the age of 18 years, 2 months and 22 days (she held this record for 6 months until Akane Yamaguchi won the 2013 Japan Open at the age of 16). She again reached the finals of the Thailand Open, winning the title after beating Busanan Ongbumrungpan to become the first Thai ever to win the women's singles title at the Thailand Open since it was first held in 1984.
Intanon withdrew from both the Indonesia Open SSP and Singapore Open SS to recover from a foot injury and prepare for the BWF World Championships. In World Championships in August, she was seeded fourth. She reached the quarterfinals of this tournament for the first time, where she defeated Carolina Marín in a very hard-fought encounter. Her semifinal path was relatively easy, where she won against P. V. Sindhu in two games. In the final, she won the title, beating world number 1 and Olympic gold medalist Li Xuerui 22–20, 18–21, 21–14. She was the first-ever Thai player to be the World Champion and was also the youngest singles World Champion ever at the age of 18. She became the world champion while still being eligible to play in the World Junior Championships that year. After the World Championships, she injured her back and failed to qualify for the 2013 BWF Super Series Finals, finishing the year as the world number three. She was awarded the "2013 Best Females Athletes Award" from the Thailand Sports Authority.
In 2014, Intanon reached the final of the Korea Open for the first time, meeting Wang Yihan and continuing her losing streak against Wang. She was awarded "Best Asian Sporting Icon" by Fox Sports Asia, based on voting from internet fans on its website. She reached the finals of the Indonesia Open but again lost to Li Xuerui. She failed to defend her World Championships title after losing in the second round to Minatsu Mitani. She was defeated by Bae Yeon-ju in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Asian Games. She qualified for the Super Series Finals in Dubai but failed to pass the round-robin stage after losing group matches against Tai Tzu-ying and Akane Yamaguchi. She finished the 2014 year as world number six.
In 2015, Intanon made a comeback by reaching the final of the India Open for the second time but lost to her opponent Saina Nehwal. A month later, she became the first Thai singles player to win the Asia Championships by defeating Li Xuerui in the final 20–22, 23–21, 21–12 in China. It was the first time that Intanon had beaten Li since the final of the 2013 World Championships. In June, she won her first Super Series Premier title by beating Yui Hashimoto of Japan in straight games at the Indonesia Open. However, at the BWF World Championships, she had to retire from court when 8–5 up in the decider against Lindaweni Fanetri in the round of 16 from cramps.
She won a gold medal with the Thailand women's team at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. After the Indonesia Open, she did not reach the final of any tournaments but earned enough points to qualify for the Dubai Super Series Finals. In the group stage, she lost to Wang Yihan, but won two other matches against Wang Shixian and Sung Ji-hyun, progressing to the semifinals. She lost to Wang Yihan there, which brought their head-to-head record to 0–12. She finished the 2015 season at world number seven.
In 2016, Intanon won the Thailand Masters, a second Grand Prix Gold tournament in Thailand, by beating Sun Yu in the final. She won the Indian Open Super Series for the second time by beating Li Xuerui in the final. In the Malaysia Open the week after, she defeated Wang Yihan for the first time by beating her in the semifinal. In the final, she beat Tai Tzu-ying to earn the Malaysia Open title for the first time. This was the first time she had won two consecutive Superseries tournaments; Intanon then became the first singles player to win three Superseries in three consecutive weeks by winning the Singapore Super Series, defeating Sun Yu in the final. By winning three Superseries in a row, Intanon also rose to the number 1 spot in the world rankings, becoming the first Thai to achieve this feat. Her winning streak ended after she lost to Sayaka Sato in the Asian Championships.
Intanon qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics and was the Thai flag bearer. At the Olympics she failed to pass the round of 16, losing to Akane Yamaguchi, in two games: 19–21, 16–21. After the Olympics, she suffered a knee injury which forced her to retire from subsequent tournaments. In the Super Series Finals, Intanon lost in straight games to Sung Ji-hyun and Tai Tzu-ying, and retired injured against He Bingjiao. She finished 2016 at a world ranking of five.
She played in her first tournament of 2017 in March, the All England Open. She made her way to the quarter-finals, where she faced off against world no. 2 Carolina Marín. Intanon won after being down 11–18 in the rubber set but won 10 straight points to close out the match. After defeating Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinals, Intanon was defeated by Tai Tzu-ying 16–21, 20–22.
Intanon later in the year took the Thailand Open title, beating compatriot Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the final. She also won the New Zealand Open beating Saena Kawakami. She was disappointed in the World Championships when she lost to Chen Yufei in the quarterfinal. After defeating Sung Ji-hyun and Tai Tzu-ying in the Denmark Open Premier Series, Intanon beat Akane Yamaguchi in the final in three games after being 16–19 down in the final game; she won the game 21–19. She said that she dedicated the title to Thailand's king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who had died the year before. She qualified for the season-ending Superseries Finals, where she defeated Sung Ji-hyun and Tai Tzu-ying and lost the third group match to Chen Yufei. She was defeated in the knockout stage by Akane Yamaguchi in three games after she was leading in the final game.
At the beginning of the year, Intanon won the Malaysia Masters Super 500, beating Tai Tzu-ying in the finals, winning 24–22 in the third set. In the World Championships, she lost to Saina Nehwal in the second round. At the Asian Games, Intanon made it to the quarter-final stage before losing out to Nehwal. She made the finals of the Hong Kong Open, losing to Nozomi Okuhara. She qualified for the HSBC World Tour Finals, where she ended her losing streak against Chen Yufei. She lost to Nozomi Okuhara but defeated Canada's Michelle Li to secure a semifinal spot. She lost in the semifinals to eventual gold medalist P. V. Sindhu. She finished the year at world no. 8.
In 2019, Intanon won the Malaysia Masters Super 500, defending her title by winning in straight games for all her matches, including the final where she beat Carolina Marín. At the final of German Open Super 300, she lost to Akane Yamaguchi in three games, losing 23–25 in the deciding game. She then won her third Indian Open title by beating He Bingjiao. This was Intanon's first victory over her. She lost the final of Thailand Open to Chen Yufei in two games. She won the bronze medal at 2019 Basel World Championship after losing to Nozomi Okuhara in the semifinals. Intanon was one point away from winning the Korea Open against He Bingjiao, but she saved four match points and won the next game.
Intanon failed an out-of-competition drug test in April but was not banned by the BWF. The BWF statement reads: "The ethics hearing panel determined Ms. Ratchanok Intanon committed an anti-doping rule violation, but as the athlete was able to demonstrate that her adverse analytical finding was related to the ingestion of meat contaminated with clenbuterol, she was found to bear no fault or negligence for the violation, and thus no period of ineligibility has been imposed on her." She lost again to Chen Yufei in the final of the Hong Kong Open. She participated in the World Tour Finals, where she beat Busanan Ongbamrungphan, lost to Tai Tzu-ying, and lost to Nozomi Okuhara in the last group match. Intanon's first title of 2020 came when she won the Indonesia Masters title by beating Carolina Marín in three game.
Records currently heldEdit
- Youngest ever singles champion at the BWF World Championships (2013, age of 18 years, 6 months and 6 days).
- Youngest ever champion of the BWF World Junior Championships (2009, age of 14).
- First ever three-time champion in a single discipline of the BWF World Junior Championships (2009, 2010, 2011).
- Youngest ever singles finalist of the All England Open Badminton Championships (2013, age of 18).
- First ever singles player to win three Superseries titles in three consecutive weeks.
- First ever Thai badminton player ranked world number 1.
BWF World ChampionshipsEdit
|2013||Tianhe Sports Center, Guangzhou, China||Li Xuerui||22–20, 18–21, 21–14||Gold|
|2019||St. Jakobshalle, Basel, Switzerland||Nozomi Okuhara||21–17, 18–21, 15–21||Bronze|
|2015||Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium, Wuhan, China||Li Xuerui||20–22, 23–21, 21–12||Gold|
Southeast Asian GamesEdit
|2009||Gym Hall 1, National Sports Complex, Vientiane, Laos||Salakjit Ponsana||14–21, 21–18, 10–21||Silver|
|2011||Istora Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia||Fu Mingtian||17–21, 21–19, 20–22||Bronze|
BWF World Junior ChampionshipsEdit
|2009||Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim, Alor Setar, Malaysia||Porntip Buranaprasertsuk||21–15, 21–23, 21–10||Gold|
|2010||Domo del Code Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico||Misaki Matsutomo||21–13, 16–21, 21–10||Gold|
|2011||Taoyuan Arena, Taoyuan City, Taipei, Taiwan||Elyzabeth Purwaningtyas||21–6, 18–21, 21–13||Gold|
Asian Junior ChampionshipsEdit
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|Pijitjan Wangpaiboonkj|| Ou Dongni
BWF World Tour (4 titles, 6 runners-up)Edit
The BWF World Tour, which was announced on 19 March 2017 and implemented in 2018, is a series of elite badminton tournaments sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The BWF World Tours are divided into levels of World Tour Finals, Super 1000, Super 750, Super 500, Super 300 (part of the HSBC World Tour), and the BWF Tour Super 100.
|2018||Malaysia Masters||Super 500||Tai Tzu-ying||21–16, 14–21, 24–22||Winner|
|2018||Hong Kong Open||Super 500||Nozomi Okuhara||19–21, 22–24||Runner-up|
|2019||Malaysia Masters||Super 500||Carolina Marín||21–9, 22–20||Winner|
|2019||German Open||Super 300||Akane Yamaguchi||21–16, 14–21, 23–25||Runner-up|
|2019||India Open||Super 500||He Bingjiao||21–15, 21–14||Winner|
|2019||Thailand Open||Super 500||Chen Yufei||20–22, 18–21||Runner-up|
|2019||Korea Open||Super 500||He Bingjiao||21–18, 22–24, 17–21||Runner-up|
|2019||Hong Kong Open||Super 500||Chen Yufei||18–21, 21–13, 13–21||Runner-up|
|2020||Indonesia Masters||Super 500||Carolina Marín||21–19, 11–21, 21–18||Winner|
|2021||Indonesia Open||Super 1000||An Se-young||17–21, 20–22||Runner-up|
BWF Superseries (6 titles, 6 runners-up)Edit
The BWF Superseries, which was launched on 14 December 2006 and implemented in 2007, was a series of elite badminton tournaments, sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). BWF Superseries levels were Superseries and Superseries Premier. A season of Superseries consisted of twelve tournaments around the world that had been introduced since 2011. Successful players were invited to the Superseries Finals, which were held at the end of each year.
|2012||China Open||Li Xuerui||12–21, 9–21||Runner-up|
|2013||All England Open||Tine Baun||15–21, 21–16, 10–21||Runner-up|
|2013||India Open||Juliane Schenk||22–20, 21–14||Winner|
|2014||Korea Open||Wang Yihan||13–21, 19–21||Runner-up|
|2014||Indonesia Open||Li Xuerui||13–21, 13–21||Runner-up|
|2015||India Open||Saina Nehwal||16–21, 14–21||Runner-up|
|2015||Indonesia Open||Yui Hashimoto||21–11, 21–10||Winner|
|2016||India Open||Li Xuerui||21–17, 21–18||Winner|
|2016||Malaysia Open||Tai Tzu-ying||21–14, 21–15||Winner|
|2016||Singapore Open||Sun Yu||18–21, 21–11, 21–14||Winner|
|2017||All England Open||Tai Tzu-ying||16–21, 20–22||Runner-up|
|2017||Denmark Open||Akane Yamaguchi||14–21, 21–15, 21–19||Winner|
BWF Grand Prix (7 titles, 3 runners-up)Edit
|2010||Vietnam Open||Zhou Hui||21–17, 22–20||Winner|
|2010||Indonesia Grand Prix Gold||Cheng Shao-chieh||21–12, 19–21, 21–16||Winner|
|2011||Chinese Taipei Open||Sung Ji-hyun||20–22, 15–21||Runner-up|
|2011||India Grand Prix Gold||Porntip Buranaprasertsuk||Walkover||Winner|
|2012||Thailand Open||Saina Nehwal||21–19, 15–21, 10–21||Runner-up|
|2013||Swiss Open||Wang Shixian||16–21, 12–21||Runner-up|
|2013||Thailand Open||Busanan Ongbumrungpan||20–22, 21–19, 21–13||Winner|
|2016||Thailand Masters||Sun Yu||21–19, 18–21, 21–17||Winner|
|2017||Thailand Open||Busanan Ongbumrungpan||21–18, 12–21, 21–16||Winner|
|2017||New Zealand Open||Saena Kawakami||21–14, 16–21, 21–15||Winner|
BWF International Challenge/Series (2 titles, 4 runners-up)Edit
|2008||Laos International||Lê Ngọc Nguyên Nhung||22–20, 14–21, 18–21||Runner-up|
|2009||Vietnam International||Maria Elfira Christina||21–18, 21–14||Winner|
|2009||Malaysia International||Sapsiree Taerattanachai||11–21, 21–19, 20–22||Runner-up|
|2010||Smiling Fish International||Rawinda Prajongjai||21–10, 21–17||Winner|
|2010||Smiling Fish International||Pijitjan Wangpaiboonkj|| Rodjana Chuthabunditkul
|2008||Laos International||Pisit Poodchalat|| Dương Bảo Đức
Thái Thị Hồng Gấm
|16–21, 21–18, 17–21||Runner-up|
Intanon is the daughter of Winutchai Intanon and Kumpan Suvarsara. She also has a brother. She is half-blooded from the provinces of Roi Et and Yasothon. Her father is a native of Yasothon and her mother is a native of Roi Et. She was born in Yasothon Province in the northeast of Thailand, but moved at the age of three months with her parents, who worked at the Banthongyord sweets factory in the Bang Khae District of Bangkok. As a child, she would run around the factory floor. Factory owner Kamala Thongkorn, worried that she would be burned by boiling water and hot sugar, allowed Intanon to play at the factory's badminton courts. She started playing when she was six years old, and won her first championship at the age of seven.
Intanon used her prize money and endorsement fees to aid her parents and brother. Her father opened a food shop with her help. "I wanted to be a national player like my older friends and play for the country, because that was the only way I could help my parents to improve our status and leave poverty," she has said.
|Current year (2021)||14||9||5||+4|
|Current year (2021)||0||0||0||0|
- Prize money
- Statistics were last updated on 24 March 2021.
- Junior level
|Asian Junior Championships||QF||B||B||A|
|World Junior Championships||5th||B||8th||4th|
- Senior level
|Southeast Asian Games||B||NH||G||NH||G||NH||A||NH||G||NH|
|Asia Team Championships||NH||B||NH||A||NH||A||NH|
- Junior level
|Asian Junior Championships||3R (XD)||QF (GS)
|World Junior Championships||QF (GS)
- Senior level
|Southeast Asian Games||S||NH||B||NH||A||NH||A||NH||A||NH||A||NH|
|Tournament||BWF Superseries / Grand Prix||BWF World Tour||Best|
|Thailand Masters||NH||W||A||QF||NH||W ('16)|
|Swiss Open||A||1R||SF||F||A||2R||A||NH||A||F ('13)|
|German Open||A||2R||QF||A||F||NH||F ('19)|
|All England Open||A||1R||2R||F||SF||QF||QF||F||1R||1R||QF||SF||F ('13, '17)|
|Malaysia Masters||2R||1R||2R||A||W||W||2R||W ('18, '19)|
|New Zealand Open||A||NH||N/A||NH||A||W||A||NH||W ('17)|
|Australian Open||A||SF||2R||A||2R||1R||QF||2R||A||SF||NH||SF ('11, '19)|
|India Open||A||QF||1R||W||A||F||W||QF||SF||W||NH||W ('13, '16, '19)|
|Malaysia Open||A||1R||1R||A||1R||2R||W||QF||SF||QF||NH||W ('16)|
|Singapore Open||A||2R||A||QF||QF||W||1R||w/d||QF||NH||W ('16)|
|Korea Masters||A||QF||A||w/d||A||NH||QF ('10)|
|Thailand Open||2R||NH||1R||F||W||NH||SF||A||W||w/d||F||QF||NH||W ('13, '17)|
|U.S. Open||A||SF||A||NH||SF ('11)|
|Korea Open||A||1R||2R||1R||F||1R||2R||QF||2R||F||NH||F ('14, '19)|
|Chinese Taipei Open||A||QF||F||A||SF||A||NH||F ('11)|
|Vietnam Open||A||W||A||NH||W ('10)|
|China Open||A||QF||QF||F||QF||QF||1R||A||SF||1R||QF||NH||F ('12)|
|Japan Open||A||1R||1R||QF||A||1R||2R||QF||2R||QF||1R||NH||QF ('12, '16, '18)|
|Syed Modi International||A||W||A||NH||A||NH||W ('11)|
|Denmark Open||A||SF||1R||SF||2R||A||W||2R||2R||A||1R||W ('17)|
|French Open||A||1R||QF||QF||SF||SF||A||QF||QF||QF||NH||QF||SF ('14, '15)|
|Hylo Open||A||2R||2R ('21)|
|Macau Open||1R||1R||1R||A||NH||1R ('09, '10, '11)|
|Fuzhou China Open||A||QF||A||QF||QF||NH||QF ('12, '18, '19)|
|Hong Kong Open||A||QF||A||1R||2R||2R||SF||A||SF||F||F||NH||F ('18, '19)|
|Indonesia Masters||NH||W||2R||A||NH||SF||QF||W||2R||W ('10, '20)|
|Indonesia Open||A||2R||1R||A||F||W||1R||1R||QF||QF||NH||F||W ('15)|
|Superseries/World Tour Finals||DNQ||SF||DNQ||RR||SF||RR||SF||SF||RR||RR||DNQ||SF ('12, '15, '17, '18)|
Record against selected opponentsEdit
Record against year-end Finals finalists, World Championships semifinalists, and Olympic quarterfinalists. Accurate as of 28 November 2021.
Honors and awardsEdit
Intanon has won many awards and honors in recognition of her achievements.
|The International Olympic Committee (IOC)||IOC Sport-Inspiring Young People Trophy||2010|
|Badminton World Federation (BWF)||BWF Most Promising Player of The Year 2009 – Eddie Choong Trophy||2009|
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- ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันเป็นที่สรรเสริญยิ่งดิเรกคุณาภรณ์ ประจำปี ๒๕๕๕, ราชกิจจานุเบกษา
- ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันเป็นที่สรรเสริญยิ่งดิเรกคุณาภรณ์ ประจำปี ๒๕๕๖, ราชกิจจานุเบกษา
- ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันเป็นที่สรรเสริญยิ่งดิเรกคุณาภรณ์ เป็นกรณีพิเศษ [นางสาวรัชนก อินทนนท์], ราชกิจจานุเบกษา
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