9 Fastest Female Badminton Smashes

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Picture of the female badminton player Carolina Marín

When people think of fast sports, people often think of the blistering speeds of Formula 1, which regularly clock up to 360 km/h (223.6 mph), or even a tennis serve that can allow you to ace your opponent. But, Sam Groths’s world record holding tennis serve, 263 km/h (164 mph), doesn’t even come close to the fastest racket sport, Badminton. Even Valtteri Bottas, who holds the world record for the highest speed, 372.5 km/h (231.4 mph), in an F1 race during the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix, doesn’t even come close to beating the fastest ever recorded badminton smash by Tan Boon Heong who hit a smash recording 493 km/h (306 mph).

Here is this article we celebrate the 9 Fastest Female Smashes ever recorded. 

9 Fastest Smashes in Competitions

9) Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand) - 343 km/h (213 mph) 2016 All England 2nd round

Busanan Ongbamrungphan is a Thai badminton player who is currently ranked number 10 in the world, her highest ranking to date.

After cruising through against Olga Konon (GER) in the first round (21-8, 21-9), Busanan Ongbamrungphan found herself up against the second seed Saina Nehwal. Despite a spirited first game in which a short lift by Saina Nehwal saw Busanan Ongbamrungphan hit a blistering smash registering 343 km/h (213 mph), Saina Nehwal was too much for Busanan Ongbamrungphan, eventually losing the match (21-16, 21-9).


Racket used: NANORAY Z-SPEED

Picture of the female badminton player Busanan Ongbumrungpan

Attribution: B20180, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8) Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) - 347 km/h (216 mph) Yonex Open Japan 2015

Nozomi Okuhara is a Japanese badminton player that is currently ranked 12 in the World. Formerly world number 1 in 2019 for women’s singles, she is well known for her speed, agility and endurance. Some of her crowning achievements are winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and gold medal at the 2017 World Championships.

But, on home soil at the 2015 Yonex open in Japan, Nozomi Okuhara not only managed to win the tournament, beating her fellow compatriot, Akane Yamaguchi, (21-18, 21-12) in the final but she also hit one of the fastest smashes ever recorded at 347 km/h (216 mph).

Picture of the female badminton player Nozomi Okuhara
Attribution: 14 15 puzzle at the Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

7) PV Sindhu (India) - 349 km/h (217 mph) Denmark Open 2015

Our 7th fastest smasher is PV Sindhu. Considered one of India’s most successful sports persons, Sindhu has won various medals on the BWF circuit, consecutive medals at the Olympics and is the only Indian to become badminton world champion. By winning consecutive medals at the Olympics, she is one of only two Indian athletes to ever do so. Currently ranked world number 5, her highest ever world ranking was number 2 in 2017.

At the 2015 Denmark Open, which was her maiden Super Series tournament final, Sindhu hit a smash that rocketed in at 349 km/h (217 mph). During this tournament Sindhu managed to defeat three seeded players – Tai Tzu-ying, Wang Yihan and Carolina Marin, but lost to the defending champion Li Xuerui in straight games 19–21, 12–21.

Picture of the female badminton player PV Sindhu
Attribution: Prashant123japla, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6) Akane Yamaguchi (Japan) - 352 km/h (219 mph) Yonex Open Japan 2015

We have already featured this lady in the 9th fastest smash, in which we saw Akane Yamaguchi being beaten by her fellow compatriot Nozomi Okuhara (21-18, 21-12) in the final on home soil at the 2015 Yonex open in Japan. 

Current world number 1, it was clear from a young age that Akane Yamaguchi was going to be a star, winning the World Junior Championships in consecutive years, 2013 and 2014, and then the Asian Junior Championships in 2014. She is also the current reigning World Champion, winning gold in the women’s singles two years running at the 2021 and 2022 World Championships.

However, there must have been something in the air during the 2015 Japan Open, as here we also have our 6th fastest smash ever recorded. Akane Yamaguchi, though losing in the final, did manage to beat Nozomi Okuhara fastest ever smash, flying in at  352 km/h (219 mph).


Racket used: VOLTRIC 70 E-Tune

Picture of the female badminton player Akane Yamaguchi
Attribution: Tan (14_15_puzzle), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5) Carolina Marín (Spain) - 356 km/h (221 mph) 2016 All England semi-finals

Carolina Marín is a Spanish professional badminton player currently ranked number 11 in the world. Her highest ever rank was number 1 in 2015 for 66 weeks, during which time she became Olympic Champion at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Carolina Marín is also a three-time World Champion and six-time European Champion and is widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes in women’s singles badminton.

In addition to all her accolades, during the 2016 All England, Carolina Marín cruised into our list of fastest ever female smashes at number 5. During the semi-final against Nozomi Okuhara (JPN), Marín hit a blistering smash that was recorded at 356 km/h (221 mph). Despite this thunderbolt, was ultimately unable to overcome Okuhara, losing the game 21-11, 16-21, 14-21.


Racket used: NANORAY Z-SPEED

Picture of the female badminton player Carolina Marín
Attribution: TSportsasia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4) Saina Nehwal (India) - 357 km/h (222 mph) 2016 All England 2nd round

Saina Nehwal is an Indian professional badminton player and the only ever female player to become world number 1. Currently ranked number 32 in the world, Saina Nehwal can be considered a pioneer in India and can be credited for increasing the popularity of badminton. This is thanks to the numerous firsts she has achieved over her career. She was the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, to win two singles gold medals (2010 and 2018) at the Commonwealth Games, to win the BWF World Junior Championships and Super Series title and the first to reach a final of the BWF World Championships. What a career. 

On top of all of these achievements, she also holds claim to the four fastest recorded smash of all time. Interestingly, the match in question in which Saina Nehwal managed to hit a smash that was recorded at 357 km/h (222 mph), has already been featured on our list. The match was against our 9th fastest female smasher, Busanan Ongbamrungphan. Though both of our players managed to hit ridiculously fast smashes, it was Saina Nehwal who eventually managed to win the game 21-16, 21-9.


Racket used: NANORAY 900

3) Wang Yihan (China) - 359 km/h (223 mph) 2016 Malaysia Open semi-finals

Wang Yihan recorded the 3rd fastest smash of all time and is our first player that is retired. A Chinese professional badminton player who reached world number 1 in 2009 with a fantastic career record of 368 wins to only 91 losses. Wang Yihan is a former women’s singles world champion and Olympic silver medalist in 2012 at the London Olympic Games. 

2016 was Wang Yihan’s swan song, announcing her retirement from badminton after a disappointing Rio Olympics. However, not before gracing the game with the 3rd fastest recorded smash at the Malaysia Open in April 2016. During the semi final match against Ratchanok Intanon (THA), Wang Yihan managed to hit a lightning fast smash of 359 km/h (223 mph). However, this was not enough to overcome the 4th seed with the match ending 21-11, 21-19 in favour of Intanon. 

Picture of the female badminton player Wang Yihan
Attribution: Tsutomu Takasu, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2) Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipei) - 360 km/h (224 mph) 2016 All England quarter-finals

Tai Tzu-ying is a Taiwanese badminton player [1*] and is one of the best badminton players currently playing and is ranked 4th in the world (8th November 2022). In December 2016, at the age of 22, she became world number 1, and she currently holds the amazing title of the player who has held that title for the longest in BWF history, at 214 weeks (as of 5th September 2022). She has been world number 1 as recently as this year from 30 August 2022 to 5 September 2022.

Tai Tzu-ying was the women’s singles silver medalist in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. She has won the gold medal in 2017 Summer Universiade and the 2018 Asian Games, as well as winning the year-end tournament BWF Superseries/World Tour Finals and the All England Open three times each.

On top of all the titles Tai Tzu-ying has won, she also comes in 2nd on the fastest smash of all time. There was clearly something in the air during the 2016 All England, as this is the 4th smash on our list that came out of this tournament. The shuttles must have been great! We have seen fast smashes from Busanan Ongbamrungphan (THA), Carolina Marín (ESP) and Saina Nehwal (IND). But of all the smashes from this tournament, it was Tai Tzu-ying when topped them all, smashing in at a rapid 360 km/h (224 mph) against Saina Nehwal (IND) in the quarter finals, who she beat 21-15 and 21-16 to progress to the semi finals where she was beaten by Wang Shixian (CHN).

Picture of the female badminton player Tai Tzu-ying
Attribution: 教育部, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

1) Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) - 372 km/h (231 mph) 2016 Malaysia Open semi-finals

Ratchanok Intanon is a Thai badminton player who is currently ranked 7 in the world (4th October 2022). She became the first Thai player to become world number 1 in women’s singles in 2016, but was only able to stay at the top of the pack for 2 weeks. Ratchanok Intanon entered the international circuit at the age of 13 and managed to become the youngest ever champion of the BWF World Junior Championships (2009 aged 14) and the youngest ever singles champion at the BWF World Championships (2013 aged 18). Ratchanok Intanon is also the first ever singles player to win three Super Series titles in three consecutive weeks.

We have already talked about the game between Wang Yihan (CHN) and Ratchanok Intanon, where Wang Yihan hit a lightning fast smash, making our list as the 3rd fastest recorded smash. During this, lightning did indeed strike twice. Not only did we see the 3rd fastest smash, but also the fastest female smash of all time. Not only did Ratchanok Intanon break the world record, she absolutely obliterated it with a 372 km/h (231 mph) smash, beating the 2nd fastest smash by 12 km/h! This game was the 13th time that Wang Yihan (CHN) and Ratchanok Intanon had faced each other, with Wang winning the last 12. However, the 13th time the charm and Intanon managed to finally get the better of Wang, beating her in two straight sets, 21-11 and 21-19. Intanon went on to win the tournament beating Tai Tzu-ying 21-14 and 21-15.

Using her own physical abilities, Ratchanok Intanon is able to equal Valtteri Bottas in his car that is completely engineered for speed and which cost up to $140 million to produce. Badminton is completely amazing!


Racket used: VOLTRIC 70 E-Tune

Picture of the female badminton player Ratchanok Intanon
Attribution: Pierre-Yves Beaudouin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These fastest smashes in badminton history are quite amazing. The women who hit these smashes are incredibly talented and skilled and deserve to be celebrated. It is truly exciting to watch these smashes in action. I encourage you to check out some of these videos online and see for yourself how amazing these smashes are. But I hope more than anything that this article has got you excited, like it has me, to get out and play badminton and hit some rapid smashes yourself. Get out, play badminton and “smash it”.

[1*] “Chinese Taipei” is the term used in various international organisations and tournaments for groups or delegations representing the Republic of China (ROC), a sovereign state commonly known as Taiwan.

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