(Photo: Badminton Europe)
The four-week countdown begins
Date: 3/30/2021 3:30 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
We have reached the four-week countdown towards the much-anticipated 2021 European Championships. With a unique three-year gap since the last one, do you remember who won in 2018? 

Kyiv, Ukraine, was due to hold the event which crowns the best in Europe in 2020, however, for obvious reasons we all had to hold that thought until this year. Since its inception in 1968, the European Championships have been held no more than every two years, that is until last year’s unprecedented situation which has caused a three-year gap between the championships for the first time. 

In 2018, Huelva was the location for the continental championships, the same city in southwestern Spain that will host the World Championships later this year. Here is a reminder of how the current reigning champions were found.
Marin’s moment
The headlines were naturally focused on Carolina Marin winning her fourth title on the bounce in the city of her birth and in front of her adoring fans. The historic moment saw Marin match the current record for consecutive titles by Christinna Pedersen/ Kamilla Rytter Juhl.

Marin sliced through her opponents without dropping a game. Her closest match was against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, winning 21-17, 21-16 in the semifinal. In a dominant performance in the final, Marin defeated Russia’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya 21-15, 21-7. 

Axelsen back on top
Viktor Axelsen, the 2016 European Champion, suffered a surprise semifinal loss against fellow Dane Ander Antonsen in 2017. Antonsen was then defeated by Rajiv Ouseph who brought the men’s singles title back to England for the first time since 1990. 

Axelsen returned to the top in 2018, satisfyingly facing the reigning champion Ouseph in the final. In a stellar performance, Axelsen won 21-8, 21-7 and secured his second title. 

New champion in the men’s doubles
The reigning champions and number one seeds, Mathias Boe/ Carsten Mogensen, did not fight for a third title. This opened up the opportunity for other pairs, namely two fellow Danish pairs, the 2016 champions and 2017 silver medallists, Mads Conrad-Petersen/ Mads Pieler Kolding, and 2016 silver and 2017 bronze medallists, Kim Astrup/ Anders Rasmussen. 

Indeed, it was the repeat of the 2016 final between the two Danish pairs. Mads Conrad-Petersen/ Mads Pieler Kolding had a tough semifinal battle against 2014 champions, Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov, which contributed to the unfortunate withdrawal in the final after losing the opening game to Kim Astrup/ Anders Rasmussen, who took their first title. 

Historic gold for Bulgaria
Similarly to the men’s doubles, the reigning four-time champions, Christinna Pedersen/ Kamilla Rytter Juhl, were not present. This opened up a clear path for 2017 silver medallists, Gabriela Stoeva/ Stefani Stoeva, who certainly did not waste their chance and took the gold in style, never looking like they would lose a game at any point. 

They won Bulgaria’s first-ever gold when defeating France’s Emilie Lefel/ Anne Tran 21-12, 21-10 in the final. 

Adcocks double up
In a sensational 2017 mixed doubles final, Chris and Gabby Adcock prevented reigning champions, Joachim Fischer/ Christinna Pedersen, from picking up three-in-a-row, winning 21-19 in the decider. 

In 2018, the Adcocks once again defeated Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen, but not as a partnership. Fischer played with Alexandra Bøje and entered as a Wild Card. The Adcocks defeated them 21-17, 21-15. 

Christinna Pedersen, playing with Mathias Christiansen, reached the final and gave the English number one seeds a great fight, and after yet another top-level final, Chris and Gabby Adcock became champions once more, this time with a slightly larger margin of 21-18 in the deciding game. 

The 2021 European Championships will take place from 27 April to 2 May. For more information, click here
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