Not long ago the Danish national badminton team returned home after having competed at Thomas and Uber Cup in Bangkok. According to sports director Jens Meibom, the teams’ performance during the tournaments lived up to expectations, and especially the teams’ coaches should be proud of their strategic decisions.
Onsight in Thailand, Mille followed the national teams’ progression closely. Two top-tuned teams that was there to make Denmark proud. Unfortunately, for the women's team, they met top-seeded China in their first match after having advanced through the group stages and were defeated 3-1.
The Thomas Cup team had a relatively smooth journey through the group stages, only Malaysia proved to be somewhat of a challenge to the Danish men. Winning 5-0 over Algeria, 5-0 over Russia and finally 3-2 over Malaysia, the Thomas Cup team won their group, which led them to meet South Korea in the quarterfinals. Convincingly Denmark beat South Korea 3-0, following which the well-playing team from Japan awaited in the semifinals. The semifinal became an incredibly close match that could have gone either way. The Danish men's double won both their matches, but unfortunately, the three Japanese single players managed to beat the Danes. The game ended 3-2 to Japan. Having dusted off the defeat in the semifinals, the Danish team proudly climbed the podium to be rewarded with their bronze medal. An achievement that yet again proves Denmark’s position amongst the world’s best nations. A statement that they too were solidified during the European Championships in Russia, where both the women’s and men's team brought home gold medals.
BUT, how can a small nation, like Denmark, deliver world class achievements year after year? During the world championships, we asked the players this exact question.
Despite the relatively low population in Denmark of around 5.7 million, the Danish Sports Federation (DIF) in 2017 was able to announce a total membership count of 1.9 million, 100,000 of which belonging to Badminton Denmark. As a nation, Denmark cares a lot about the public’s safety and health. Environments in which sports and exercise are in focus can be found all over Denmark, and is part of the Danish culture and everyday life.
- I come from a small city called Skovshoved, and my entire life I have played there. Especially socially, the local club means a lot - my dad is my coach and my whole family plays badminton. Likewise, my friends and family also play badminton, though at a lower level. They always support me in what I am doing, which means the world to me, says Natalia Koch Rohde (Women’s Singles).
In Denmark, food and its safety is an important topic often debated in the public forum. - I care a lot about food quality, because I love to eat. I really appreciate the good quality of our food products in Denmark. In my family, we mainly buy organic food. We believe it tastes better, and it we like knowing the animals are being treated well. Something we do not mind paying extra for, says Mads Conrad-Petersen (Men’s double). Particularly the organic area is one that Denmark is considered a frontier. In 2017, Ritzau announced that organic sales in Denmark exceeded all our countries.
Amongst the players we interviewed a broad consensus of the reason behind the success of Danish badminton could be traced back to the association, Badminton Denmark. - I think that in Denmark we have a very professional setup and I people involved in badminton are very dedicated. Especially the coaches do an amazing job motivating us players. I also think that although we are not have a huge population in Denmark lots of people have an interest in badminton, which too is important, says Rikke Søby Hansen (women’s double).
We are pleased with our agreement with the Danish badminton team and we look forward to continuing our support for them in the future.