It’s World Championships time! In a few days, the biggest badminton tournament of the year will kick-off in one of the epicenters of world badminton – Jakarta, Indonesia (10 to 16 August). The crème de la crème of international badminton will meet in the legendary Istora Senayan to battle it out for the prestigious World Championships medals.
Outside of the Olympics, no tournament is bigger in badminton than the World Championships, where the top men and women all gather to compete for the huge title. And the European stars always played an important role in the traditional event that is played since 1977.
Below, we'll take a look at the top seeds and the draws from a European perspective.
First medal for Jan Ø. Jørgensen?
European Champion Jan Ø. Jørgensen is the number two seed in Jakarta. With Boonsak Ponsana, the Dane, who aims to win his first World Championship’s medal, will face a tricky opener. But looking at the head-to-head statistics, Jørgensen’s second round bracket seems like smooth sailing as the Dane won the last nine (!) clashes against his opponent from Thailand. A potential third-round matchup against Son Wan Ho  could be another tricky challenge, while a possible quarterfinal matchup against five-time world champion Lin Dan of China is all what the fans are looking for.
Mixed feelings for Marc Zwiebler
Former European Champion and Germany’s number one shuttler Marc Zwiebler received the No. 14 seed – but not a supremely favorable draw as he will face superstar Lee Chong Wei in the second round.
“A World Championship in Jakarta is something very special for me. While I am always enjoying the amazing and enthusiastic atmosphere playing the Indonesia Open, I guess it’ll be even better next week”, Zwiebler said.
“To be honest I am not happy with the draw. I was fighting hard and I have been traveling to so many tournaments to get a seeding spot and avoid the big guns at an early stage of the competition. And that did not work out. But I will give everything. I will put up a great fight.” In the first round Zwieber will meet Osleni Guerrero from Cuba.
Meanwhile, last year’s bronze medalist and no. 7 seed Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) would see top-ranked and title holder Chen Long in the quarter-finals if all goes according to the plan. In the opening round, the 21-year-old will face Petr Koukal of Czech Republic.
Rajiv Ouseph and Toby Penty of England face tough starts. Two-time Scottish Open champion Ouseph meets Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who has won the last two of their three meetings, while Penty is up against world No, 30 and French number one Brice Leverdez.
Best first-round matches
We will see great first-round encounters in Jakarta with European stars challenging the Asian supremacy. Ville Lång will face Korea’s Son Wan Ho, Dieter Domke takes on Kento Momota of Japan and Pablo Abian plays Indonesian star Tommy Sugiarto. Yes, the Asians are all favourites to enter the second round. But watch out, Dieter, Pablo and Ville are capable of springing a surprise.
Title holder: Chen Long (China)
Men’s singles World Champions from Europe:
1977: Flemming Delfs (Denmark)
1997: Peter Rasmussen (Denmark)
for the full draw in the men’s singles.
Carolina Marin the reigning champion & number one seed
At last year’s World Championship’s edition, Spanish hero Carolina Marin took the badminton world by storm as she clinched the gold medal in Copenhagen. The Spaniard pulled off a monumental upset as she beat Chinese then world number one Li Xuerui to win her country’s first ever major title in the sport. One year later, the 22-year-old is considered an absolute world class player with having the capacity to win major titles.
Marin, who has a bye in the first round, will face the winner of Jeanine Cicognini (Italy) and Jing Yi Tee of Malaysia in the second round. A potential quarter-final matchup between in-form Marin and Chinese Wang Shixian  could be truly intriguing.
Revenge for Kirsty Gilmour?
World number 33 Kirsty Gilmour will be keen to avenge her Swiss Open defeat by Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk when they meet in the first round. Only seven places separate them in the world rankings with Gilmour just below her Thai rival at No 32. If she avenges her 21-12 21-15 defeat in Basel she will face an even tougher test against ninth seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
Gilmour, who fell in the first round at last year's Worlds in Copenhagen, said: "Yes, I have played her once before. I don't feel like I played very well in that match so I'll be looking to really get my game plan right this time and be focused on sticking to it.
"I think a lot will come down to who can control the hall better as its notoriously drifty but as long as I play with a fast pace, good structure and implement my plan, it should go better than last time!"
Women’s singles World Champions from Europe:
1977: Lene Køppen (Denmark)
1999: Camilla Martin (Denmark)
2014: Carolina Marin (Spain)
Title holder: Carolina Marin (Spain)
for the full draw in the women’s singles.
Boe/Mogensen ready for another title attempt
Danish stars Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, current world number 2 and European Games champions, have great memories from playing World Championships. In the last two editions – last year in Copenhagen and in Guangzhou in 2013 - they both reached at least the semi-final stage. Only the gold medal is missing in their impressive collection. But the path is anything but easy.
What does their draw look like? Well, they have two of the most dangerous players in the draw outside the seeding spots: Cai Yun and Lu Kai of China, only ranked 29 in the world. Cai Yun is one of the most successful men’s doubles players in the history of the game. Yun, who is the current Olympic Champion and a four-time World Champion, is now playing with a younger partner.
In the second round Boe/Mogensen will take on Chen Hung Ling and Chi-Lin Wang of Chinese Taipei. The good news for Boe and Mogensen is that they are unbeaten against this Chinese Taipei duo as well as against Cai Yun/Lu Kai.
Their compatriots Mads Kolding and Mads Conrad have a “relatively” easy path to the quarterfinals, if all goes according to the plan. Their potential quarterfinal opponents? The home favourites and third seeds Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan.
Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Johannes Schöttler will face Dutch duo of Jacco Arends/Jelle Maas while Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup take on Indonesia’s Andrei Adistia/Hendra Aprida Gunawan in the second round.
Title holder: Ko Sung-hyun/Shin Baek-cheol (Korea)
Men’s doubles World Champions from Europe:
1983: Steen Fladberg/Jesper Helledie (Denmark)
2003: Jonas Rasmussen/Lars Paaske (Denmark)
The full men’s doubles draw can be found here
Rytter-Juhl and Pedersen the most promising Europeans
Top seeds in the women’s doubles category are Misaki Matsutomo /Ayaka Takahashi. The in-form duo from Japan, who won this year’s India Open and BWF World Superseries Finals, is the pair to beat at this year’s World Championships. Russia’s Victoria Dergunova/Olga Morozova can test the strengths of the Japanese women if they get by Joyce Wai Chi Choong/Yap Cheng Wen in the opening round.
European Champions Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark, the number four seeds, are the most promising European players in the women’s doubles event to leave Indonesia with pair of medals in their bags. The path to a quarter-final encounter with No. 6 seed Ma Jin/Tang Yuanting of China seems reasonably plausible. But in round 3, it is the tricky Korean duo of Lee So Hee/Shin Seung Chan who is waiting for the Danes.
Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek of The Netherlands will face the winner of Katherine Winder/Luz Maria Zornoza (Peru) vs Jongkonphan Kittiharakul/Rawinda Prajongjai (Thailand) in the second round.
Title holder: Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (China)
Women’s doubles World Champions from Europe:
1980: Nora Perry/Jane Webster (England)
The full women’s doubles draw can be found here
Adcock/Adcock vs Kolding/Rytter-Juhl in round three?
Europe is a traditional power-house in the mixed doubles category with having won six World Championships gold medals since 1977. Joachim Fischer’s and Christinna Pedersen’s way to the quarter-finals could be a challenge as the number five seeds from Denmark will potentially face home crowd favourites in round two and round three.
England’s Chris and Gabby Adcock could face Denmark’s Mads Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in the third round. The married couple was also placed in the opposite side of the draw to long-standing rivals, China’s top seeds Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei and Indonesia’s Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir. They will only meet one of these pairs these should they reach the final.
After receiving a bye in the first round, the world number seven pair will face either South Africa’s Andries Malan and Jennifer Fry or Korean’s Shin Baek Choel and Chang Ye Na in the second round.
The full mixed doubles draw can be found here
Title holder: Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei (China)
Mixed doubles World Champions from Europe:
1977: Steen Skovgaard/Lene Køppen (Denmark)
1983: Thomas Kihlström/Nora Perry (Sweden/England)
1993: Thomas Lund/Caterine Bengtsson (Denmark/Sweden)
1995: Thomas Lund/Marlene Thomsen (Denmark)
2006: Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms (England)
2009: Thomas Laybourn/Kamilla Rytter-Juhl (Denmark)
Article by Manuel Rösler. All photos by BadmintonPhoto.