Kunlavut has two missions to accomplish after title at the World Championships

Thailand’s badminton ace Kunlavut Vitidsarn achieved one of his three ambitions by winning the men’s singles title at the World Championships. And he is now aiming to replicate his outstanding form to win the Olympic Games and the All England Championship titles.

Kunlavut won 19-21, 21-18, 21-7 at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, after an exhausting final against Japan’s No.3 Kodai Naraoka.
Kunlavut bled after flinging himself around to return some difficult shots and coming from behind to win the 109-minute marathon battle. It was well worth the pain, sweat, and tears for the three-time world junior champion, who became the first Thai to win men’s singles gold at the senior world championships. Kunlavut’s success fulfilled a boyhood dream, and he dedicated the gold medal to his late childhood mentor, to whom he had vowed that one day he would be a world champion.

I’m very happy, this has been a dream for me since I was a child, said Kunlavut to the Badminton World Federation (BWF). When I was young, I’d promised my coach that I would get the gold medal. He passed away, and I dedicate this gold medal to him. I had three targets when I was young, the Olympic Games, World Championships, and All England. Now I have achieved one of those, so two are left, the 22-year-old shuttler added.

Kunlavut was overjoyed with his accomplishment but it was such an exhausting match that he did not have the energy to celebrate his victory in the final. It was his fourth win over Naraoka in their seven meetings. The young Thai shuttler believes that being patient made the difference for him in Copenhagen. I needed to be prepared for a long match with Kodai. We know each other’s game because we have played since our junior days. You have to be very patient with him, and it was very tiring, so I didn’t have any energy left to celebrate, he concluded.

Meanwhile, Indian shuttler HS Prannoy, who won a bronze medal at the World Championships, rose three spots to a career-high global No. 6 in the new BWF rankings released on Tuesday. Prior to the BWF World Championships 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmark, HS Prannoy was rated ninth. However, victories over world No.1 Viktor Axelsen and world No.9 Loh Kean Yew on the way to the semi-finals aided the Indian shuttler’s historic medal. Prannoy’s previous career-high ranking was ninth, which he earned in May.