Axelsen & Marin the superstars of Euro badminton
Marin & Axelsen overwhelming singles favourites
Date: 4/24/2017 8:43 AM
Published by : Mark Phelan
It feels just like yesterday when Viktor Axelsen fell to his knees in Vendee, France to claim his first senior European title. What a year it proved to be for Europe’s best men’s singles player thereafter culminating with an Olympic bronze and the year ending circuit finals success in Dubai. Both Axelsen & Carolina Marin have dominated the European singles stage since their titles last year and both return as the hot favourites as Axelsen attempts to go back to back and Marin looks for a hat trick of European titles. 

As we switch to the annual staging of the European Championships, and twelve months on from the spectacle that was La Roche Sur Yon, the city of Kolding on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark will deliver another unforgettable experience for Europe’s elite and the large crowds that are expected to attend.

Denmark have always had the upper hand when it comes to seedings and expectations and this year will be no different with Denmark favourites to lift four of the five golds on offer. What will make the task even more difficult for the rest of Europe this time around is the Danes have the luxury of going to battle on their home turf. 

With the forced withdrawal of Jorgensen in the men’s singles Axelsen is as red hot a favourite as you can get to lift the men’s singles title. In the top half of the draw Marc Zwiebler or Pablo Abian will attempt to dethrone the king of the courts early on. If the veteran German, playing in his final European championships, and Spaniard fail it will most likely be left to Anders Antonsen to prevent Axelsen from another European final. The two Danes are scheduled to meet at the semi final. 

Rajiv Ouseph is seeded two but that seeding may just flatter the recent form of England’s number 1 who has been out of the game for an extended time post Rio. Vittinghus (pictured above right) is overdue a European run and may be the one to emerge from the bottom half. Who knows we may even see someone emerge from the pack as Henri Hurskainen did in Sweden in 2012. Can players like Roth and Caljouw bring their circuit form to the big European stage and create the big story of these championship? Only time will tell. 

If Axelsen is favourite for the men’s singles title then Marin is an even hotter shoe-in for the women’s singles title. Last year’s runner up, Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland, continues her comeback and will certainly be fresh for these championships. But where normally Gilmour (pictured above left) would be touted as a final foe for Marin this time around they find themselves in the same half of the draw. 

Kjaersfeldt and Corrales will be there or thereabouts and both avoid Marin until the final. Similarly, Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet will be one to watch as she hunts the biggest prize in her career a European medal. Poulsen, Blichfeldt, Rohde and Zetchiri are the players unfortunate enough to have the task of trying to bring down the champion from the top half of the draw in support of Gilmour. 

Boe & Mogensen the form pair in intriguing men’s doubles

There is little doubt that this year’s men’s doubles competition is the category that has seasoned badminton nuts salivating with anticipation. Veterans Boe & Mogensen (pictured above) come into these championships as the form pair after their success in Singapore just last week. A fresh outlook and a pep in their step sees the top seeds as the pair to beat as they look to win the European title, their first since Sweden in 2012. 

An opening round match against Briggs and Wolfenden will test the world number 3 pair and with Ivanov & Sozonov and countrymen Daugaard & Christiansen all in the top half of the draw it makes for a very interesting few days in Kolding. 

Reigning champions Conrad & Kolding will feel they have something to prove after their Rio omission with the Danes getting their campaign underway against MacHugh and Campbell of Scotland. The champions are scheduled to meet Rio bronze medallists Langridge & Ellis as early as the quarter final with Astrup & Skaarup expected to come through their quarter of the draw for a potential semi final. 

Pedersen’s doubles hat trick on the cards

Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen (pictured below) travels to Kolding as the hot favourites in both mixed doubles and women’s doubles. Alongside Kamilla Rytter Juhl the Danish duo will be fully expected to win the women’s doubles title for the fourth consecutive time after wins in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The Danes are head and shoulders above the rest of the field in the women’s doubles with only the Stoeva sisters and possibly Muskens & Piek having a very outside chance of bringing the fight to the Olympic silver medallists. 

Pedersen will also look to win the mixed doubles title for the third consecutive time alongside Joachim Fischer Nielsen but will find this task just that bit more difficult given the draw. The Danes should blow off the cobwebs while getting a decent test in their opening round against English duo Lane & Pugh. The real test will most likely come in the semi final where 2012 champions Matuesiak & Zieba should be waiting. This will be the last hurrah from a European perspective for the Polish pair who have served Polish and European badminton with distinction over the past two decades. 

The bottom half of the mixed doubles draw has the possibility of throwing up some shocks. The Adcock’s are second seeds and if on form they will be difficult to beat but the reaility of the situation is they have never won a European individual medal. Lurking in that bottom half are pairs such as Thygesen & Christiansen, Fruergaard & Gravholt and Germans Seidel & Efler. All have the armoury to dislodge the English on any given day. 

But these championships will be all about Christinna Pedersen. If she can pull off the doubles double for the third consecutive European championships the Dane will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time. 

The tournament kicks off in Kolding this coming Tuesday with all the action from all four courts being streamed via our broadcast partners LAOLA1.TV and ZIBRASPORTS.DK 

Badminton Europe will also be on hand bringing full coverage of this years European Championship via all our usual social media channels and for the first time we have our dedicated championships app (pictured above) with all news, views and statistics from the championships. Just visit the App Store (IOS) and Google Play (Android) and search for European Badminton Championships to download. 

To view all the draws for the 2017 European Championships click HERE

To view all historical winners and host cities click HERE

Article and archive images by Mark Phelan

© All rights reserved.

Related news
Ready to meet the next 'Popov'?
In about four weeks the Europe...

Four weeks left: The biggest ever
Only four weeks until the Euro...

Five weeks to go
The countdown begins to the Eu...

You haven't bought your tickets yet?
The European Men’s & Women's T...

Poland to host the 2020 European Junior Championships
The biggest talents in Europe ...

European Men’s and Women’s Championship draw: all you need to know
The draw will be conducted tod...

More news