Today in Kazan team Denmark proved once again that they are virtually untouchable in continental team competitions as both the Danish men and women romped to emphatic defence of their titles to once again be crowned kings and queens of European team badminton.
The Danish men got things underway and to France’s credit put severe pressure on the champions thanks to a master class from their singles leader Brice Leverdez. The French number 1 inflicted the first defeat of the week on world number three Jan O Jorgensen coming back from a set down to take the opening singles in three.
“Jan’s game is a game I am comfortable playing against. I was also confident after beating some good players this week and really it was all in with nothing to lose and with my team behind me I manage to get the first point for France” said Leverdez after his opening win.
But that was to be as good as it got for the French as the Danes remained focused and showed no signs of panic even after going a set down in the second match on court the first men’s doubles. Conrad and Kolding were slow to start but came storming back to take the match in three against Mittelheisser and Kersaudy and soon added the second men’s singles to take a 2-1 lead courtesy of Viktor Axelsen.
Normally the joker in the team, Anders Skaarup Rasmussen took to the court with partner Kim Astrup and there was certainly a focused intent from the Danes who blitzed past Labar and Maio in an easy two games to win the title yet again for Denmark.
“It really was a great honour to have the opportunity to win the title for Denmark and I am almost speechless now knowing we have done it” said Rasmussen on claiming the title. “This one is for Carsten (Mogensen) and we are proud to win this title for him this week”
Juhl and Pedersen seal the double for Denmark
Just as the men defended their title from Basel two years ago so too did the Danish women who came through their final against Bulgaria altogether more comfortably than many would have expected. Fatigue had played its part on the Bulgarian team with four players sharing the bulk of the work from quarter finals onwards.
In the end Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen rounded up the double for Denmark after Line Kjaersfeldt and Anna Thea Madsen had given them an early lead.
Running alongside the main event was the European U15 championships with the gold medals being shared between four different countries. Denmark won both the mixed doubles and the girls singles thanks to Sebastian Gronbjerg/Clara Graversen and Mathilde Cramer Ahrens while France won the boys doubles with Popov and Lovang. The boy’s singles went to Harry Huang in the closest of the five finals while there was joy for Turkey winning the girls doubles with Bengisu Ercetin and Zehra Erdem (pictured) claiming the gold after beating top seeded Danes Andreasen and Ahrens to land an historic medal.
For all the results from the final of the European U15 championships click HERE
For the results from the finals of the European men’s and women’s team events click HERE
For a full Facebook gallery from both the U15 and the EMWTC16 click HERE
TO watch all the matches back on demand, go to Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel by clicking HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan (live in Kazan)