The ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a significant time to mention athletics that made the Olympics journey memorable.
One such athlete is Nozomi Okuhara, hailing from Omachi, Japan, an outstanding badminton player who has achieved several titles with her effort.
Okuhara was the former World’s No.1 in BWF rankings for the women singles. Similarly, she is well known for her agility, speed, and endurance during the games.
Her major achievements include a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics and a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships.
Nozomi Okuhara: Quick Facts
|Full name||Nozomi Okuhara (奥原 希望)|
|Birthdate||13 March 1995|
|Birthplace||Omachi, Nagano, Japan|
|Age||27 years old|
|Marital status||Not Married|
|Weight||In Kgs: 51 kgs|
In lbs: 112 lb
|Height||In meters: 1.56m|
In feet: 5 ft 1 inch
|Highest Ranking||1 on 29 October 2019|
|Current World Ranking||3 on 17 August 2021|
|Net worth||$1 -$5 million|
|Social Media||Twitter, Instagram|
|Last Update||June, 2022|
Nozomi Okuhara: Early Life
Nozomi Okuhara was born into a humble Japanese household in Nagano’s Omachi city.
At the young age of six, Okuhara picked up an interest in badminton. Later, keeping her interest alive, she joined a badminton academy in her hometown and received her first training.
On the one hand, while focusing on her academics in elementary school, on the other hand, Okuhara was beginning to perform well in junior-level badminton.
After showcasing outstanding performance, at the age of 14 in 2012, she was chosen for the Japanese national team, representing her country internationally.
Likewise, Okuhara made her international debut in the 2010 Osaka International Challenge while representing her country.
Nozomi Okuhara Career
The rise of young Nozomi Okuhara (2010-2012 seasons)
Just at the age of sixteen, Okuhara had reached the finale of Lao International. However, she was defeated by Nitchaon Jindapol.
Despite the defeat, in 2011, Okuhara became the youngest women’s singles champion ever at the Japanese National Championships.
In addition, she defeated her colleague Mayu Sekiya leading her to win the Austrian championship. In the same year, she also won a bronze medal at the World Junior Championships.
With the runner-up title in the Asian Junior Championships, she contributed to her team to gain the victory of the mixed team title.
Later, she achieved a gold medal in the World Junior Championships after finishing third at the 2011 BWF World Junior Championships.
In spite of being of young age, Okuhara won her maiden Grand Prix title at the Canada Open in July.
The 2013-2014 Seasons
At the beginning of the 2013 season, Nozomi Okuhara suffered from an injury.
Likewise, she suffered a serious knee injury in the third fame of her quarterfinal match against Saina Nehwal at the Malaysia Open.
For almost a year, Okuhara remained out of the international circuit due to the injury.
Finally, in November, she bounced back in the competition as she participated in her first tournament since her previous appearance in the China Premier tournament in January 2013.
Okuhara made up for her loss in the previous season by winning New Zealand Open in 2014 by defeating Kana Ito in the final.
Similarly, she also won the Vietnam Open and Korean Grand Prix titles with hard work and determination.
In Hong Kong Open finals, she made her maiden Superseries appearance.
She advanced to the final by defeating reigning world champion Carolins Marn in two one-sided games in the semifinals.
However, while competing against Tai Tzu-Ying, she came in the second place in the final competition.
The progress in the 2015 season
At the beginning of the 2015 season, Nozomi Okuhara swept away two Grand Prix titles in Malaysia and United States.
She defeated her fellow countrywoman Sakaya Takahashi and Sayaka Sato on both occasions. Similarly, she also secured victory in the China International Challenge event.
During the Malaysian Superseries quarterfinals, she played against Wang Shixian for the longest Women’s singles match in history. As the both players refused to face defeat, they continued to compete for 111 minutes.
Despite the tough endurance during the game, Okuhara faced the loss and was severely cramped.
Later, in 2015, she won her first-ever Superseries title in the final at Japan Open. With a score of 21–18, 21–12, she beat her colleague Akane Yamaguchi.
Okuhara was seeded 9th in the World Championships in Jakarta. However, despite having previously defeated her twice, she could not go beyond Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the first round.
Similar to her previous season result, she once again reached the final of the Hong Kong Open. Later, she was defeated by Carolins Marn in a three-game match with a razor-thin margin of victory.
Nozomi Okuhara won the Dubai World Superseries final at the end of the 2015 BWF season.
She overcame all of her opponents, including Saina Nehwal, Tai Tzu-Ying, on her way to the finals without dropping a single game.
With determination, she defeated Marin twice in both the preliminary round and semifinals with very one-sided scores.
In the finals, she defeated Wang Yihan with 22-20, 21-18.
The 2016 Season
On a lucky day as her birthday, Okuhara won the prestigious All England Open after winning over Wang Shixian in the final.
She won over with 21-11, 16-21, becoming the first Japanese women’s singles player to hold the title.
Nozomi Okuhara was seeded sixth for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Similarly, in the quarterfinals, she defeated her opponent, Akane Yamaguchi, with 11-21, 21-17, 21-10 to go to the semis. Then, she competed with No.9 seed P.V. Sindhu for the semifinal.
Okuhara had no answers for Indian’s aggressive style and lost two games in a row, 19–21 and 10–21.
Due to her opponent, Li Xuerui of China’s injury was awarded a walkover in the bronze medal match.
In the process, Nozomi became the first Japanese woman to win an Olympic medal in badminton singles.
Okuhara experienced shoulder difficulties at the China Superseries in November. The injury forced her to retire from the Hong Kong Open, which ruined her chances of defending her Dubai Superseries Finals title.
The 2017 Season
After retiring for a while, Nozomi Okuhara came back stronger than ever in the 2017 season.
She won over Akane Yamaguchi and claimed her first ever Australian Open title.
Later, she competed at the World Championships seeded seventh, continuing her strong form.
Likewise, she defeated Marn, the two-time champion, in a grueling hour and 33 mins bout.
She also won a hard-fought semi-final match against Saina Nehwal after losing the first game.
Similarly, in the final, she went up against P.V. Sindhu. Okuhara won the victory against her with a 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 win in one of the masterpieces of badminton history.
With determination from both the players, the match stretched for 1 hour and 50 minutes, making it the second-longest match in Women’s singles badminton ever.
With her triumph, Okuhara became the first Japanese woman to win the World Championships since 1977.
Following her victory on the world stage, she advanced to the Korean Open Premier Superseries final, where P.V.Sindhu took the victory over Okuhara.
However, she later had a knew injury, and her performance decreased as a result.
Due to such an issue, she chose not to compete in the Dubai Superseries Finals to avoid aggravating her knee concerns.
At the beginning of the 2018 season, Nozomi Okuhara contributed to the victory of the Uber Cup after 37 years.
In the final, Japan defeated Thailand by a 3-0 difference. Similarly, in the Uber Cup, Okuhara remained undefeated in all the matches.
She reached the World Championships in Nanjing as the reigning champion. However, she fell in the quarterfinals against P.V. Sindhu, the player she beat in the 2017 final.
Later, Okuhara won the Thailand Open Super, making it her first-ever World Tour Title. Then, she won the Thailand Open Super 500 by defeating P.V.Sindhu 21-15 and 18.
She also advanced to five additional finals, winning two of them, in Korea and Hong Kong, both Super 500 tournaments.
Okuhara made it to the final of the Singapore Open; however, he was defeated by Tai Tzu-Ying.
She also advanced to the Australia Open and Japan Open finals but lost to Chen Yufei and Akane Yamaguchi.
Okuhara was seeded third in the World Championships. She overcame He Bingjiao and Ratchanok Intanon on her way to the finals of this event, where she would face P.V.Sindhu.
In the 2017 World Championships final’s rematch, she was defeated 7-21, 7-21 by the Indian player and had to settle for silver.
The achievements in the 2019-2021 season
On October 29, 2019, she achieved the globe changing Tai Tzu-Ying Ranking 1 position.
After losing to Chen Yufei at the Fuzhou China Open with 21–9, 12–21, 18–21, she finished second for the sixth time in a row.
Later, she competed in the World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, where she had the best start, beating her group stage opponents.
However, she was defeated in the semi-finals by Tai Tzu-Ying, whom she had previously defeated in the group round.
Nozomi Okuhara won the 2020 Denmark Open after defeating Carolina Marn in two games, 21-19 and 21-17.
She hadn’t won a World Tour Title in over two years, having previously won at the Hong Kong Open in 2018.
Later in 2021, Okuhara won the victory over Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand, leading her to win her second England Open Championship, making it her first win after 2016.
Nozomi Okuhara, a badminton superstar from Japan, has joined Momota in withdrawing early from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After joining compatriot Kento Momota in withdrawing from the Olympics early on Friday, Japanese badminton ace Nozomi Okuhara expressed optimism that her country’s younger generation might learn from her mistakes.
Okuhara, the third seed in the women’s singles, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Chinese number eight seed He Bingiao, losing 12-21, 21-13, 21-14.
The former world number one & world champion, a heartbroken Okuhara, advised Japan’s future players to be cautious during the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Nozomi Okuhara: Relationship
The 26-years old champion, Nozomi Okuhara, is not dating anyone. At present, the Olympian is single and focusing on herself.
Similarly, regarding her past relationships, there has not been any information.
Thus, it comes to light that our outstanding champion did not engage in any relationships.
Nozomi Okuhara: Net Worth
The young badminton champion’s net worth has been growing significantly in the past years.
The badminton star is seen advertising for a Japanese sports equipment and sportswear company, Mizuno Corporation.
Nozomi Okuhara is estimated to be around $1 million to $5 million. Likewise, she makes the most of her money as a successful player.
Nozomi Okuhara: Social Media
The athlete is active on her social media like Instagram and Twitter. Similarly, one can find her updates on Tokyo Olympics 2020 on her Instagram.
Click to know more about her daily activities.
Instagram: 190k followers with 963 followings
Twitter: 165.7k followers with 566 followings
Which racket does Nozomi Okuhara use?
Since the Sudirman Cup in May 2019, Nozomi Okuhara has utilized the newest model, “ALTIUS 01 FEEL.”