Monday, February 22, 2016
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Denmark continued its dominance of European badminton by winning both titles at the 2016 European Men’s & Women’s Team Championships in Kazan yesterday.
Denmark’s men (featured image) overcame early resistance from France to triumph 3-1, after which their women compatriots shut out Bulgaria by a similar margin.
Earlier, in the men’s team semi-finals, Denmark beat Germany 3-0 while France surprised England 3-2. In the women’s team semi-finals, Denmark stopped Germany 3-1 while Bulgaria staged a stunning fightback from 0-2 down to prevail over Spain 3-2.
In the men’s team final, it was France that struck first blood, with Brice Leverdez pulling off a surprise over Jan O Jorgensen, 19-21 21-16 21-16. And with Bastian Kersaudy/Gaetan Mittelheisser taking the first game over Mads Pieler Kolding/Mads Conrad Petersen, it looked like Denmark were in a spot of bother.
However, the Danes got into their groove and made it 1-1 winning the next two games 21-11 21-8. Viktor Axelsen made no mistake in the third match, 21-13 21-12 over Thomas Rouxel, before Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen clinched the tie in the second doubles with a 21-10 21-5 result over Ronan Labar/Julien Maio.
“It really was a great honour to have the opportunity to win the title for Denmark and I am almost speechless now knowing we have done it,” Rasmussen told BadmintonEurope.com on claiming the title. “This one is for Carsten (Mogensen) and we are proud to win this title for him this week.”
The Danes were just as comfortable in the women’s team final against Bulgaria. Line Kjaersfeldt gave Denmark the perfect start beating Linda Zetchiri 21-15 21-9. Anna Thea Madsen followed up with a 21-18 21-18 result over veteran Petya Nedelcheva.
Stefani Stoeva did pull Bulgaria back into the contest as she overcame Mette Poulsen 21-13 21-15, but the tie was over in the fourth match with the formidable pair of Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl powering past Nedelcheva/Gabriela Stoeva 21-11 21-12.
The two major surprises in the semi-finals were France’s 3-2 win over England and Bulgaria’s comeback against Spain. England were 2-1 up before Ronan Labar/Julien Maio brought France back into the contest beating Peter Mills/Tom Wolfenden 21-19 21-17. Lucas Claerbout then edged past Sam Parsons 21-12 25-23 in the decider.
Bulgaria had an even more memorable semi-final win over Spain in the women’s team championships. After Carolina Marin and Beatriz Corrales had given Spain a 2-0 lead, Stefani Stoeva gave Bulgaria the lifeline beating Clara Azurmendi 21-17 21-11. Then Petya Nedelcheva/Gabriela Stoeva eased past Haidee Ojeda/Sara Penalver Pereira in straight games. The deciding match, between Corrales/Main and Stefani Stoeva/Linda Zetchiri, teetered on the brink; the Spaniards had two match points but the Bulgarians shot ahead with four straight points to take the tie.
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