SUPER SERIES MASTERS FINALS LIUZHOU, CHINA (DEC 14-18)
A graphic sketch of Denmark’s Peter-Gade Christensen in the Super Series Masters Finals souvenir book depicts him as a young boy.
The evergreen veteran was quite tickled as he turned 35 yesterday and is the oldest men’s player on tour. He thinks it is a true reflection of him - the Peter Pan of badminton who just wants to keep on playing.
“My team–mates made fun of me when they saw the picture. But it wasn’t as bad as that of Lee Chong Wei, and Taufik Hidayat looked quite funny too,” he quipped.
Yesterday, Christensen, who has graced the badminton scene for more than two decades, unveiled his plan for the future, which, expectedly, will involve youngsters.
He wants to be a coach when he ends his playing career after next year’s Olympic Games in London.
The Dane has kept a few options open as far as his coaching career is concerned.
“I cannot run away from the sport. I have given it a lot of thought and decided that badminton will always be a big part of my life,” said Christensen.
He has not decided whether he will start his own training centre or contribute to the national association.
“Right now, all I know is that I love coaching.
“I have been working with youngsters and I can give them so much – especially in preparing them mentally.
“I have travelled so much as a player and the coaching option will also give me more time with my two children after the Olympics.”
As a coach, Christensen wants to be an agent of change – especially in helping the Denmark Badminton Association gain a sound financial footing.
”Denmark have a very good development programme but we don’t have enough money coming in. China sometimes send 5-6 coaches for a tournament while Denmark is lucky to even send one. Maybe I can make a difference,” he said.
“With the right backing, we can do much more to increase the pool of players in the international stage – especially in the men’s singles.”
On his remaining months as a player, Christensen said: “A player’s learning curve never ends.
“I have to be stronger and faster to keep up with players like Lin Dan, Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei.
“I may be getting old but my dream remains the same – to win a medal in my last Olympics.”
Yesterday, Christensen showed he still has what it takes at the highest level when he made quick work of Indonesia’s Simon Santoso 21-13, 21-9 to get off to a dream start in his opening Masters Finals Group A match here.