Events

(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Thuc Phuong Nguyen wins gold and silver
Date: 11/7/2020 4:55 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
While the 17-year-old Nguyen was instrumental in winning medals for Germany in the individuals after their disappointing team campaign, Denmark and Russia took gold in the men’s and women’s doubles respectively. The high quality of the matches provided a glimpse of the future European badminton stars. 

In the first match of finals day, Matthias Kicklitz/Thuc Phuong Nguyen defeated the unseeded surprise pair Gustav Bjorkler/ Edith Urell to claim the mixed doubles gold for Germany. 

There was hardly anything to separate the two pairs in the opener as the points difference never exceeded two. The fourth seeds trailed in the beginning but managed to catch up at 16-16. After that, they won the first game 21-19. 

- We are feeling really good. It was our goal to take the gold medal back to Germany. We played very well in the tournament and also in the team event. We prepared well, Kicklitz said.

- It is a really special moment, he added. 

- Of course, we are happy. At the moment, it’s a bit hard to be happy about the silver medal but I think in a few days, we will be happy about it, Urell stated. 

Riding on the confidence, the Germans led 14-8 and 18-15. However, the Swedes played inspired badminton to draw level at 19-19. Kicklitz/ Nguyen held their nerve to close out the match in two straight games, winning 21-19 in the second as well. 

- It was close but they were better in the last points, Bjorkler pointed out.

Future plans
- It was very difficult, especially for me. I just tried to control the net because Matthias has a really good attack. We played really good as a pair but we had some problems in the end, Nguyen said.

After winning the mixed doubles title at the European Junior Championships, the men’s singles bronze medallist was optimistic about their partnership.
  
- We will definitely celebrate. I hope we can continue in mixed doubles after this. We are not training so much in mixed doubles. Normally, we only train for singles, Kicklitz observed.

In the second game, Nguyen tried to change ends at the mid-game interval only for her coach to stop her. A funny moment in the match. 

- I don’t know what I thought, she chuckled.

Another Danish pair emerges
Following the retirement of many veteran men’s doubles stars, Danish badminton is in secure hands. 

William Kryger Boe/ Mads Vestergaard upset top seeds Egor Kholkin/ Georgii Lebedev to reclaim the men’s doubles title for Denmark after five years. Impressively, the Danes did not drop a single game in the entire tournament!

The encounter started on equal terms before the Danes ran away with the opening game by scoring six consecutive points. The Russians made a good comeback in the next game and led at the mid-game interval. 

However, Boe/ Vestergaard again scored six straight points. With victory in sight at 20-18, they faced stiff resistance from the top seeds. Nevertheless, the match was theirs after 34 minutes: 21-15, 22-20. 

 - It is amazing. It was all good from the beginning. So nice that we won, Boe was extremely happy. 

- We had a lead in the middle of the second game but we got a bit nervous in the end. The Russians were playing very well. We are happy to have closed out that second game. It was important, Vestergaard noted. 

Going down memory lane
Boe talked about the advice he got from his uncle and Danish superstar Mathias Boe. He had won the same event way back in 1999. 

- Yeah! He loved the flick serve too, so that was for him, Boe said. 

Vestergaard had to settle for two bronzes in 2018 but went all the way here in Finland. 

- I am very happy to have won the gold this time, Vestergaard smiled.

Gold for Russia
After winning the gold in the mixed doubles, Nguyen had to settle for a silver in the women’s doubles with her partner Leona Michalski. On the other hand, the top seeds Anastasiia Boiarun/ Alena Iakovlena made up for the loss of their compatriots in the men’s doubles. 

The Russians took some time to get going. Once they did, they overwhelmed the Germans to breeze through 21-12. Up 18-13 in the second, Michalski/Nguyen looked set to force the final game. Interestingly, one last effort from their opponents paid off. 

- I think our attack was more consistent and they did some mistakes in the defence. We played better but not good enough to win, Nguyen stated.
 
Boiarun/ Iakovlena reeled off six consecutive points to go into the lead at 19-18. The Germans stopped the run by scoring their own point but the Russians were too good. They won 21-12, 21-19. 

- We made many easy mistakes when we were leading. Maybe, we started to get a bit nervous in the second game, Michalski explained.  

- It’s an amazing result for me in the last tournament of the year, she further added. 

- We are very happy. This game was very hard but we won, Iakovlena rejoiced. 

To re-watch the action from EJC20, visit badmintoneurope.tv

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