After a hectic opening day in Amsterdam at the 2012 edition of the Men’s and Women’s team championships, today was the turn of the top seeded nations to announce their arrival and blow out some tournament cobwebs.
Most of the attention was focused on both German (pictured)
and Dutch ladies to see if they have what it takes to trouble the Danes at this year’s event. There has been a lot of hype around the Dutch team this week and there attempt to claim some silverware and judging by their 5-0 demolition of Hungary they appear to certainly have a shout at a medal this week, the big question is just what colour?
Judith Meulendjiks opened the rout for The Netherlands and the vastly experienced Dutch girl was obviously delighted to be back on court again for her home country. Newbie to the senior squad Soraya DeVisch Eijbegen was also impressive on her debut at third singles and the Dutch look in good shape albeit diluted now through an injury to Yao Jie.
The German girls fielded an extremely strong team in their opening match against European minnows Cyprus. Schenk and, recently crowned German National Champion Olga Konon, led the way in easy fashion in 2 sets a piece and recently graduated juniors Fabienne Deprez and Isabel Herttrich justified their inclusion with wins to the cheers of their team mates.
“It was nice to make my debut for Germany today in a team event and even nicer to win my singles. It was important for us today to come in and get used to the hall as many other teams had played yesterday” said Konon to Badminton Europe.
In the men’s event Denmark got off to a shaky start after Hans Kristian Vittinghus lost the opening set of the tie to Kieran Merrilees of Scotland. The experienced Dane settled quickly to take the match in three only dropping 8 points in the deciding set. Young guns Axelsen and Fladberg followed suit in the remaining singles and Jonas Rasmussen showed why he is still one of the most feared opponents in the game. There are not many out there that can read the game like the wily Rasmussen can.
The German boys, sporting their vast array of facial hair creations especially for the occasion, along with other tournament favourites England and The Netherlands had little troubles in seeing off the spirited challenge of Israel, Slovenia and Slovakia respectively.
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Article and photos by Mark Phelan (live in Amsterdam)