2018 saw a turn of events in men's badminton at the highest level. The emerging force came to the fore and challenged the old guard to the hilt. The year belonged to Japan's Kento Momota who dominated the scene with a spree of Super Series titles. Momota became the first man to clinch six titles in the year, equaling a herculean feat set by China's Lin Dan.
He also became the first Japanese to win the World Championships, ending the hegemony of the Chinese and Indonesian shuttlers at the premier event. The Japanese had an astonishing season won the Indonesia, Japan, China, Denmark Super Series titles besides reigning supreme in World Championship and the Asian Championships.
While Malaysian badminton stalwart Lee Chong Wei was out for most of the season, recuperating with his cancer illness, multiple Olympic and World Champion Lin Dan had a couple of early round exits, clearly indicating age and fitness had taken a toll on the Chinese maestro. Meanwhile fellow Chinese Chen Long clawed his way back to some form winning.
Lin's heir apparent has come in the form of Shi Yuqi who has staked his claim as one of the most promising shuttlers. Shi claimed the prestigious All England title and added to his silverware by winning the India Open and the BWF year end finals. Shi Yuqi ended the season on a strong note by beating World No.1 Kento Momota in a lob sided final. Meanwhile Chou Tein Shen was another noteworthy challenger on the premier tour, racking up a couple of Super 500 titles. The Taiwenese shuttler won the German, Singapore and Korea Open.
Amid the onslaught by youngsters racking up majority of the premier titles, it was good to see some seasoned veterans still going strong on the tour. Prominent among them were Son Wan Ho, Chen Long, Tommy Sugiarto and Jan Jorgensen giving the young guns a run for their money.
China once again reasserted their dominance on the men's by clinching the Thomas Cup title. China had to overcome a spirited challenge from Japan to emerge victorious in the title clash.
The men's game has been very competitive at the top with Victor Axelsen, Kidambi Srikanth, Jonatan Christie and Kenta Nishimoto pushing the big guns to the limits.
The Indian shuttlers had a relatively quieter year than the stellar success they achieved in the 2017 season. However, there were some moments of reckoning with Srikanth winning a silver in the Men's Singles event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and combining well with the Indian shuttlers to win Gold in the team event.
India's brightest spot on the World tour was Sameer Verma who earned a berth into the year-end World Super Series finals courtesy some consistent performances in the Super Series events. Verma won the Hyderabad Open, Syed Modi International and Swiss Open. Sameer's brother Saurav Verma added a title to his kitty winning the Russian Open. Meanwhile Shubankar Dey made a notable impression on the tour winning the SaarLorLux Open Badminton Championship Super 100 badminton. Dey upset his idol Lin Dan en-route to winning his maiden tour title.
17-year-old sensation Lakshya Sen augured for a promising future in Indian badminton as he clinched the Asian Junior Championships title and clinched silver and bronze medals at the Youth Olympic Games and World Junior Championships respectively.