The race for the last remaining European Olympic spot certainly took an interesting twist today as Raul Must (pictured) from Estonia fought his way through two rounds to move into the quarter finals. Must elected to come to play at the Dutch International this week while three of his main competitors in the race to London travelled to Peru and all lost at second round stage.
Must came through a second round battle against Iskandar from Malaysia in a match that went the distance and lasted over 1 hour. With just 600 separating 5 men the difference between failure and winning today could make all the difference come the end of qualification in 3 weeks time.
“I knew the results from Peru before I went on court today but I knew that I been unlucky this qualifying campaign. For me it is not just about getting to the Olympics as I have done that once already. I want to improve and I have beaten many of the players that have already qualified. Maybe some luck is coming my way now and with a good draw also at Europeans next week I might just get the results I need this late in the campaign” said Must to Badminton Europe.
All in all the players who elected to come to the Dutch International this week have fared much better than those who went to Peru as Petr Koukal also put back to back wins together for the first time this year to boost his chance of making it to London.
Koukal has only got by the first round once this calendar year and that was at the recent Finnish Open in Helsinki. Today’s performance marked a welcome return to form for the Czech number one in the week that saw him fall out of the automatic qualification spot for the London Olympics after results in Australia last week conspired against him.
Elsewhere in the men’s singles draw Anand Pawar continued his good run of form. The Indian who won in Orleans last week and followed that up with a 21-10 21-9 win over Jan Ø. Jørgensen in the bronze medal match in the Danish League moved into the quarter finals with a convincing win over Christian Lind in the second round.
In the women’s singles draw top seed Yao Jie got a real scare against 18 year old Swiss junior Nicole Schaller. While Yao Jie advances in three sets the young Swiss continues to improve and is sure to become a real force in European badminton over the coming years.
Polish veteran, Kamila Augustyn ended the run of Soraya De Visch Eibergen in what was a generally a bad day for the Dutch single ladies. Patty Stolzenbach went down to the elegant Malaysian Sonia Su Ya Cheah while Michele Chan Ky ended the good run of qualifier Kirsten Van Der Valk.
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Article and Image by Mark Phelan (Live in Wateringen, The Netherlands)