Abian defies all the odds to lift gold
Date: 6/28/2015 3:21 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
On the final day of the European Games in Baku Spain’s Pablo Abian proved all his doubters wrong by climbing the top step of the podium and be crowned the first ever men’s singles champion of a European Games in badminton.

Abian progressed through the week long tournament getting better as the days past. A minor mishap on the last group day saw the Spaniard loss to Germany’s Dieter Domke but that loss did more to focus the Spanish veteran’s mind than have negative metal effects going into the knockout stages.

In today’s final against Emil Holst, Abian got out of the blocks quickly to take the opening game 21-12. Danes are made of stern stuff and Holst, who has been outstanding this week in Baku, rallied to come right back at Abian in a second game full of intrigue.

The Dane led 19-17 towards the end of the game but Abian reeled off three points in a row to give himself an unlikely match point. Holst then took the next two points in quick succession to rock the Spaniard and it looked like we could be heading into a deciding game. But once again the experienced head of Abian settled and won three points in a row to take the second game 23-21 and with it the title of Men’s singles champion at the 2015 European Games.

Personally Abian had a lot to prove to himself and the Spanish people that even outside of the national training centre he still has what it takes to go to major championships and compete and win medal. Abian delivered this week in true Pablo Abian style with flair, determination and the longest match of the week at 97 minutes against Vladimir Malkov in the round of 16.

“These event are different with all sports and the atmosphere. It is a lot to manage and mentally. For me personally this medal is the best result of my career and I am very happy and also very proud”

2 out if 3 aint bad on finals day for Denmark

After the disappointment of losing the opening men’s singles Denmark bounced right back in the women’s singles thanks to Line Kjaersfeldt. The Danish number 1’s opponent on finals day was Belgium’s Lianne Tan who has been a revelation this week in Baku.

The diminutive Belgian got the best start taking the opening game 21-18 and had Kjærsfeldt on the back foot in the second game leading 12-8. But that’s when the tide turned and Kjærsfeldt won 7 points in a row which broke Tan and the Dane levelled proceedings at 1 game each 21-19.

The third game was all about Kjærsfeldt as she won 10 points in a row mid game to end any hope of a Tan revival and the Dane fell to her knees on match point to win the women’s singles with a 21-9 win in the third game.

“When I was down in that second game I just told myself I have come too far to lose. I found and extra 50% in my legs and in my racket speed and that really took Lianne by surprise” said Kjærsfeldt. “These games have been a great experience and I will round it all off as being flag bearer for Denmark at the closing ceremony.”

In the final match of the games Niclas Nøhr & Sara Thygesen dominated the mixed doubles final beating Mittelheisser & Fontaine of France to land the European powerhouse three of the five titles on offer in Baku.

“It was strange as this final was the first time this week we were not nervous. We had some bad starts in other games but this one went as good as it could from the start for us” said Nøhr after the victory.

The inaugural European Games has been an overwhelming success in Baku. Exemplary organisation from which the athletes blossomed. A multi-sport event of the highest calibre with medallists who for the rest of their lives can say that they were winners at the very first European Games and for the rest to be a part of it will be a memory shared forever.

For all results from Baku go to the official website at

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Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Baku).
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