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The Top 10 American Badminton Players of All Time

    Most of us play badminton on the weekends with our siblings, as a way of deciding who will do the dishes. Some of us actually love the game, and we attend frequent practice, but we would never dream of going pro with it. And then there are those of us that went all in with the game.
Gave it their best. Never missed practice, always signed up for tournaments no matter how easy or hard they were and when everyone else was suiting up and getting a job, they decided that badminton was their life. And well they decided, because they probably ended up winning medals and titles and are probably on this list of the top ten American badminton players of all time.

1.    Chris Kinard

At 27, Chris Kinard had already won the men’s singles champions 4 times. He had also been ranked the US number one badminton player five times. This is a huge record that not many people have been able to follow.
Although Chris Kinard worked as a waiter then, this did not stop him from following his passion for the game, something that was cultivated when he was 11 by his father. Chris Kinard would spend almost all his free time training for badminton. He was so focused and determined that the onetime went to Indonesia, the then reigning champions of the game, and spent six months learning and training their way.
Eventually, Chris Kinard was named top badminton player in the USA seven times, and he was a member of the Thomas Cup for an astonishing 13 years straight. From 1969 to 1982! In an interview with the New York Times in 1979, his coach and colleagues agreed that there was probably no American Badminton player who trained as hard as Kinard.

2.    Shannon Pohl

Not every success story is all butterflies and rainbows. For Ms Pohl, it was a walk on hot coal for her to achieve her dreams in badminton, but she says she would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Pohl, a former USA number 1 female badminton player, is now a full-time badminton coach and she owns and runs the Shannon Pohl Badminton Academy in Vernon Hills.
In a bid to join the Olympics in 2008, Pohl quit her then the full-time job as a graphic designer, took her savings and moved to Denmark for training and preparation. However as fate would have it, she did not cut come 2008, as she had to have been a top-ranked player at the time.
Unfortunately, that title came a little too late a year later, and with that Pohl retired from being a professional player and decided instead to coach and mentor younger players. She must be a doing a very good job because she is the only US badminton player ever to be nominated by the US Olympic Committee, for the award of Best Developmental Coach in Badminton.

3.    Matthew Fogarty

If passion for badminton could be embodied, then Fogarty would be that embodiment. He, now 60, has played badminton since he was 7 years old. He says that he started playing because his grandparents and parents also played, but that story changed when he found badminton to be home for him.
 Fogarty has qualified for 8 world championships, the most recent one being in 2017 when he was six decades old. He travels the world with his mother, who is well into her 80’s but still supports him. In fact, the two played as partners two decades ago.
Fogarty is a doctor had gone and graduated from Medical school, but even this noble profession could not keep him away from his true interests. Fogarty says the reason he plays even in his old age is so that he can show people that it is not about winning but about the love for the game. He is also devoted to finding out the corruption that may be in the national badminton boards and committees, hoping that all badminton players get a fair shot at winning.

4.    David Freeman

Badminton has had its fair share of doctors in its courts. David Freeman was also a doctor, a neurosurgeon, but a badminton player at heart. He once said that badminton was made for him. He admitted to not being fast or powerful but says that when it came to hand-eye coordination, he was quick.
Although he retired at 33, he had already been named the number one badminton champion in the world. He remains the only American to receive this title. He was also the only American man to win a world’s singles championship. David Freeman died at the age of 80, but with a lot of badminton accomplishments under his name.

5.    Howard Bach

Although he was born in Vietnam, Bach was raised in California together with his four sisters. He began playing at the age of 7 and said that it was his family’s love and support that kept him in the game.
In 2005, Bach, with his then partner, Tony Gunawan, made world badminton history by being the only American Badminton athletes to ever win a medal in world championships. They won a gold medal, making that title even more prestigious. Aside from that, Bach has more titles under his belt or racket including being half of the best overall team according to the US Olympic Committee .

6.    Eva Lee

Eva was born in Hong Kong but was also raised in California. She started playing badminton at the age of six, and professionally at age ten, under the influence of her mother. In 1998, she won three crown titles in the US National Junior Championships.
Currently, she is partnered with yet another legendary badminton player, Obanana, whom Lee says complements her very well. She has played in the Olympics, winning three gold medals in the 2007 Rio Games. She currently works as a coach for junior players.

7.    Paula Lynn Obanana

According to NBC, Obanana is one of the top-ranked US badminton players. She is also the partner to Eva Lee, with Lee playing the frontcourt while Obanana takes the back. The two worked six years in total to make it to the Rio Olympics, and their efforts finally paid off.
Obanana is an immigrant to the USA from the Olympics from the Philippines. She says that her joining badminton was impulsive and had nothing to do with the game. Instead, she says she was hungry, and the coach offered her a sandwich on the condition that she would try out for the team. Soon she was a natural talent, and she went on to play thereafter.
She has won both bronze and gold in national championships and has been ranked world’s number 17 and 28 in 2015, together with her partner Eva Lee.

8.    Philip Chew

Philip Chew is perhaps the youngest starter and feature on our list. Born in 1993, Chew began playing when he was 1 year 9 months when his grandfather made him an improvised racket from a fishing rod and attached a shuttlecock to it. His grandfather, later on, went to travel with him in most his games and continues to be one of his biggest influences.
Chew won two gold medals in the Pan American Games, and this is a huge achievement, given it was his first try in the tournaments. He also participated in the 201 Rio Olympics. He says that although his team is not yet positioned to win an Olympic medal, maybe in 2024, his dream will come true. Chew is a double’s enthusiast, and he says he enjoys the teamwork and technique.

9.    Jamie Subandhi
Jamie has been in the badminton business for quite a while, with 10 gold, 10 silver and 18 bronze medals to show for her blood sweat and tears. That is an astonishing 38 medals under her name, and she is still not done.
She is currently the partner to Philip Chew and says that the Rio Olympics was one of her best moments in life. Seeing the Olympic Torch and hearing the crowds cheer them on, is more than an honor according to this great player. Talk about being modest!

10.    Chris Jorgis

Our list is brought to a close by another old timer. Chris Jorgis was a diehard badminton fan even before its inclusion in the Olympics in 1992. Jorgis says that before he knew what the game was about; he was as ignorant as most Americans are. But immediately he tried playing; he got hooked.
Jorgis began playing with Lee, his partner, who was then the greatest American player, but he soon caught up, and in 1988, he won a match against him and in 1990, Jorgis was the top-ranked American Badminton Player. He has numerous medals and titles under his name, and in his prime, he now seeks to make America and the world knows the importance of Badminton.