What is next for the Top 5 records Thai badminton sensation?
At 19-years of age, Thai Kunlavut Vitidsarn has already carved out a name for himself in the world of badminton. The rising Asian star grabbed the headlines when he won a record third BWF World Junior Championship last year.
It was massive news as he became the first men’s singles player to achieve this feat. BWF, on its website, listed Kunlavut’s success among the top five records for 2019.
Kunlavut, who recently celebrated his birthday on May 11, claimed his inaugural world junior title in 2017 in Indonesia and defended it in Canada the following year, before completing the hattrick in Russia last year. He also secured the Badminton Asia Junior Championships title in China last year.
It’s really no surprise that he has been labeled a future world champion by many. “He (Kunlavut) has all the ingredients to become a world champion. Mentally, he is tough and has all the necessary skills,” his coach, Udom Luangphetcharaporn, had said after Kunlavut's victory in China.
Udom explained that given time and more experience of playing at the top level, Kunlavut would go all the way. “Give him some time to gain the experience. I am confident he will be a world champion,'' says Udom, who is attached to Banthongyord Badminton School in Bangkok, .
Kunlavut is a polished player with all-round skills and has already turned in some solid performances in the senior ranks, including bagging four BWF International Challenge titles last year.
He had an impressive start this year, finishing runners-up to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the Barcelona Spain Masters - losing 16-21, 13-21 in the final. At the Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters, he fell at the semi-finals to Kenta Nishimoto.
''Give me some time to gain more experience at the senior level. My target is to win the world title and the gold at the 2024 Olympics in Paris," Kunlavut was quoted as saying after his win in Kazan.
And at the rate he’s going, there’s no reason he will not be a world champion. His compatriot Ratchanok Intanon had proven that it can be achieved. She won three BWF world junior titles before going on to secure the BWF World Championship crown in 2013.
Everything is on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but we can expect Kunlavut to come charging back and deliver some stunning performances when the action resumes.