Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) Taiwanese ace Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) has won the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Female Player of the Year award in recognition of her achievements in 2020-2021, while Taiwanese Olympic gold medalist duo Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) and Lee Yang (李洋) were named the Most Improved Player of the Year, according to the federation Friday as it announced its season-ending awards.
It was the first time Tai had won the award, for which the period of consideration was from November 2019 until the end of October 2021 due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years.
Tai lifted the YONEX All England 2020 trophy and then made each of the finals at three tournaments in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2021, before clinching the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2020.
The world No. 1 also powered her way to the women’s singles final in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but settled for runner-up after losing a thrilling match to China’s Chen Yufei.
She has not competed in any BWF events since the Olympics, which ended in early August.
“It’s a pity I can’t be in Indonesia for the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals,” said Tai. “I really miss competing in Indonesia which has such enthusiastic fans. I never thought that I could win this award. I’ll continue to compete and try to achieve better results. I hope that fans will continue to support me.”
Tai will be competing in the upcoming BWF World Championships 2021, which will be held from Dec. 12-19 in Spain. She will anticipate possible showdowns against the in-form Yeo Jia Min of Singapore and reigning world champion Pusarla V Sindhu of India.
Olympic gold medalists Wang and Lee were named by the BWF as the Most Improved Player of the Year, ahead of Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand, and Malaysians Aaron Chia, Soh Wooi Yik, and Lee Zii Jia.
The duo won Taiwan’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in badminton by winning the men’s doubles at the Tokyo Games this year, and also clinched the men’s doubles title at the two Super 1000 Thailand Open tournaments in Bangkok in January and the BWF World Tour Finals 2020 in that same month.
“I’m really honored to win the BWF Most Improved Player of the Year and I hope that we can continue to improve,” said Lee. “I’d also like to thank my partner as well as the people around us who have been supporting us and wishing us the best.
“I think this is a great affirmation. It’s an honorable recognition for any athlete to be able to win a BWF award,” Lee added.
Lee and Wang are currently competing at the BWF World Tour Finals 2021 in Bali, Indonesia.