Badminton

Published: Monday April 7, 2014 MYT 6:26:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday April 8, 2014 MYT 11:37:42 PM

Denmark juniors bridging gap with Asian shuttlers

Mia Blichfeldt in a file photo. She is Denmark's highest ranked player at No. 11 in the junior world rankings. – EPA Photo

Mia Blichfeldt in a file photo. She is Denmark's highest ranked player at No. 11 in the junior world rankings. – EPA Photo

ALOR SETAR: The mixed team event at the World Badminton Championships has always been won by Asia, and Denmark team manager Bo Omosegaard does not see it changing this year.

In the 11 years since the championships started, China has won it eight times and South Korea twice, with Malaysia winning just once, in 2011.

While Omosegaard admits it would be wonderful to win the Suhandinata Cup (the mixed team event prize), he admits it won’t be easy, seeing as China and Indonesia have brought their top guns.

In addition, Denmark are in Group Y2 with Taiwan, England, Egypt and Afghanistan, and are expected to advance into the last 16, where they are likely to face Japan in the knockout round.

“We’re seeded second behind Taiwan, so they are definitely the favourites of the group,” said Omosegaard.

“I think it’ll be quite a surprise if we can beat them ... surprises can happen though. We have a few players who are capable of causing an upset, so you never know, but still, not easy,” added the Dane.

Denmark, the highest ranked European team (ranked 11) have a relatively young 12-member squad with no one aged older than 17.

Girls’ singles player Mia Blichfeldt, 16, is their highest ranked player at No. 11 in the junior world rankings. There’s Andres Antonsen (boys’ singles) and doubles specialists Frederik Soegaard Mortensen and Alexander Bond.

Omosegaard said his juniors have slowly been trying to bridge the gap with their Asian counterparts and he believes they’ll become world beaters in a year or two.

“I think we’ve got some good talents in our boys’ singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. But to win a mixed team is a hard task. You need everyone playing well and it can go either way.

“I think the reason we’ve had success in the individual competition here is because we were able to have two or three really good players at a given time. To have more will take time,” he added.

Viktor Axelsen was the first Dane to win the boys’ crown in 2010. The only other Danes to have triumphed were Peter Gade Christensen and Peder Nielsen in the men’s doubles (1994), and Jim Laugensen and Rikke Olsen in the mixed doubles (1992).  

Tags / Keywords: badminton, World Badminton Championships, Bo Omosegaard, Mia Blichfeldt, Andres Antonsen

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