(Photo: Badmintonphoto)

The Olympics seen from the seat of the BEC General Secretary

8/3/2021 1:55 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
Despite not attending the Olympics, BEC’s General Secretary Brian Agerbak has been closely following them and supporting our European stars from the office.

A year after the 2020 Olympic Games should have taken place, it was finally time for athletes from all around the world to gather in Tokyo and represent their countries in the biggest sports event. It was a huge success that it got to take place in such difficult times, but sadly there were many who did not get to attend as they would have done in normal circumstances.

Badminton Europe’s General Secretary Brian Agerbak had to follow the action from the office of the Confederation, but this did not make the event less special for him and Badminton Europe.

- It has been special to follow the Olympics from the office on this occasion and it has been quite a few early mornings to follow the European players. Of course, I would have loved to be present in Tokyo to support the players but given the circumstances that was not an option, Agerbak stated.

An inspiring achievement for European players
A total of 76 European badminton players attended Tokyo 2020 and it can be said that they did Europe proud, standing up to the talented Asian players that usually come away with the medals, as well as the star players from Pan Am, Africa and Oceania. This year we have seen promising performances from many of our players, including the biggest achievement by far – Viktor Axelsen clinching a gold medal.

- Viktor’s gold overshadows everything but generally, I think we have seen excellent performances from many European players. With a bit more fortune in the right moments, more medals could have been possible, but I do see good promise for the future, Agerbak said.

Axelsen’s win is for sure a big European feat, and one that we will always remember. The player had been gathering some important wins along the way in his career so far, but a gold in the Olympics is certainly the pick of the bunch.

- It is so well deserved. Viktor has put his heart and soul into achieving this gold medal, and it could not happen to a nicer guy. He is a role model on and off court and I am very happy on his behalf. Huge congratulations to Viktor but also to the team around him, Badminton Denmark, and of course his family. Viktor made so many people proud and it was perhaps the most emotional moment I have witnessed in badminton when Viktor realised that his childhood dream was now reality. 

The Dane showed what European players are capable of, and Agerbak knows the importance of such a triumph. It is not just an individual win for the player, but a historic one that can boost the confidence of so many who are usually intimidated by the level of Asian players.

- It shows that we still have players that can compete against the Asian powerhouses. It however also shows that it does take a tremendous effort, self-discipline, and a willingness to explore own limits to always become better. I am sure that Viktor’s success will serve as inspiration for many European players and will motivate them to pursue their dreams, Agerbak said.

A huge event in a safe environment
There have been many talks about organising something as big as the Olympic Games in times of COVID-19, and despite some infections in other sports and teams, the badminton event was problem-free when it comes to issues related to the pandemic. That an event of such a scale could take place safely gives a glimpse of hope for the future of badminton tournaments.

- I am very pleased that the Olympic Games could be organised despite the difficult circumstances. Especially for the players, that they could have their Olympic dreams fulfilled. We have again seen ups and downs, tears of despair and tears of joy, and fantastic matches throughout the tournament. It has been another remarkable Games with a fairy-tale ending with Viktor Axelsen’s gold medal. In the end, it was great to follow the badminton competition from the comfort of the Badminton Europe office.

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