Ratchanok Intanon, women’s world champion, World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou
Ratchanok brieflyburst into tears after her Chinese rival’s final return landed just wide, perhaps thinking of just how far she had come from her humblebeginnings as the daughter of factory workers.
Ratchanok, better known as Nong Mei, learned the game on the factory badminton courts where she was sent to keep her away from cooking furnaces. The owners of the factory producing dessertfoods were worried she would be burned by boilingwater and hot sugar.
Success come quickly for the young protégé . She won her first titleat the age of seven and, in 2009, aged 14, Ratchanok became the youngest-ever champion at the BWF World Junior Championships in Malaysia. She went on to win two more junior world titles.
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