Why is Denmark so successful in badminton?

Although the country has only 5.8 million inhabitants (Switzerland has 8.5 million), it has many players in the top 100 of the world rankings and, with Viktor Axelsen, it also has the new Olympic champion.

Various reasons seem trivial - but they are probably among the reasons why badminton (along with handball) is so popular and successful in Denmark as a popular and competitive sport. 

The weather and the topographical situation of the country. 
With hardly any snow in winter, little sunshine and no mountains, the population tends to play indoor rather than outdoor sports. There are over 1000 sports halls and gymnasiums where badminton can be played. And 700 clubs with around 94,000 members offer training for kids up to the 60+ age group. 

The numbers in Switzerland are much lower. There are about 220 clubs with a total of 14,000 members, but most of them do not offer youth training.

Many clubs in Denmark have their own sports hallwhich is accessible all year round. In Switzerland, the halls are allocated by the municipalities, which then decide on the training times. However, if the halls remain closed beyond the summer holidays (in the canton of Geneva up to a total of 10 weeks), the children often change their sport after the summer holidays.

Those who play badminton as a competitive sport in Denmark train from the U15 age group onwards in the regional training centre in addition to the club training and thus significantly increase the amount of training. For the top elite, there is a national training centre in Copenhagen where they train twice a day.

Another reason is the training structure. Almost all clubs in Denmark have one or more trained coaches - in Switzerland this is rarely the case. At the elite level, former world number 2 Kenneth Jonassen and doubles and mixed specialist Thomas Stavngaard, among others, work for the national team. Training is not about being the best in the training group or becoming Danish champion, but about being internationally successful. That's why you often see top players giving their match opponents tips on technique and tactics. The stronger the competition in one's own training group or club, the higher the general level will rise.

The Association history (in 2030 the federation will celebrate its 100th anniversary) of the Danish federation shows that the federation was already very successful in the 70s. Flemming Delfs, Jens-Peter Nierhoff, the legendary Morten Frost (now a commentator at the BWF) or Peter Gade and Camilla Martin shaped the sport of badminton in Europe and partly even in the world. Structures that have grown over many years are the reasons for the popularity and success.

In the end, Switzerland can never be as successful in badminton as it is in winter sports, but there will be no Olympic skiing champion from Denmark in the foreseeable future. 

Tokyo: A badminton gold medal for Denmark!

25 years after the Olympic victory of Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen in 1996, a Dane won the gold medal in men's singles again. Viktor Axelsen is the new Olympic champion. In the final, he beat the defending champion Chen Long (CHN) in two sets. Coach Kenneth Jonassen's tactics were excellent and Viktor dominated the match. After the victory, it was difficult for him to control his tears. His childhood dream had come true - he was an Olympic champion.

A rally from the Viktor Axelsen-Chen Long match: https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/tokyo-2020-clips/video/spektakulaerer-ballwechsel-zwischen-axelsen-und-long?urn=urn:srf:video:c72aea16-37ae-426a-a9a9-4d6f5d682818

Here are all the medal winners:
Men's Singles
Gold: Viktor AXELSEN (DEN)
Silver: CHEN Long (CHN)
Bronze: Anthony GINTING (INA)

Women's SIngles
Gold: CHEN Yu Fei (CHN)
Silver: TAI Tzu Ying (TPE)
Bronze: P.V. Sindhu (IND)

Men's doubles
Gold: LEE Yang/ WANG Chi-Lin (TPE)
Silver: LI Jun Hui (CHN)/ LIU Yu Chen (CHN)
Bronze: Aaron CHIA/SOH Wood Yik (MAS)

Women's doubles
Gold: Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu (INA)
Silver: CHEN Qing Chen/JIA Yi Fan (CHN)
Bronze: KIM So Yeong/KONG Hee Yong (KOR)

Gold: WANG Yi Lyu/ HUANG Dong Ping (CHN)
Silver: ZENG Si Wei/ HUNAG Ya Qiong (CHN)

Update Tokyo

Link BWF

On Swiss National Day, a player from Guatemala is hoping for a sensation. Kevin Cordon played his way into the semi-finals as an unseeded player where he will meet the big tournament favourite Viktor Axelsen (DEN). Viktor is the last European player in the tournament.
The match schedule on Sunday is as follows (Swiss time)
06.00 Uhr Kevin CORDON- Viktor AXELSEN
06.50 Uhr Anthony GINTING (INA) – CHEN Long (CHN)
13.30 Women's singles bronze medal match: HE Bing Jia (CHN) - PUSARLA V. Sindhu (IND)
14.20 Women's singles gold match: CHEN Yu Fei (CHN) - TAI Tzu Ying (TPE)

These are the medal winners in the men's doubles and mixed respectively.
Herrendoppel:Gold: LEE Yang/ WANG Chi-Lin (TPE)Silber: LI Jun Hui (CHN)Bronze: Aaron CHIA/SOH Wood Yik (MAS)
Mixed:Gold: WANG Yi Lyu/ HUANG Dong Ping (CHN)Silver: ZENG Si Wei/ HUNAG Ya Qiong (CHN)Bronze: Yuta WATANABE/ Arisa HIGASHINO (JPN)

The matches will be livestreamed on SRF or EUROSPORTPLAYER.

Badminton goes Olympics

Although our sport was already presented as a possible Olympic sport in 1972 at the Olympic Games in Munich, it took another 20 years before it was ready. At the premiere in Barcelona in 1992, Silvia Albrecht and Bettina Villars were the Swiss representatives. Four years later, Thomas Wapp and Santi Wibowo each qualified for the tournament in the singles. At the same time, they received the right to start in the mixed tournament, which was held for the first time.

In 2000 and 2004, no Swiss player qualified for the Olympic badminton tournament. In 2008, the two multiple Swiss champions Christian Bösiger and Jeanine Cicognini managed to qualify. In the following years, only Sabrina Jaquet managed to clear this hurdle.

While Silvia Albrecht, Thomas Wapp, Santi Wibowo and Jeanine Cicognini each won a match, Sabrina is still waiting for a successful result. She is now competing in the Olympic badminton tournament for the third time and has a certain routine. Let's hope that she can prepare for the season's highlight without any injuries and that she will deliver a top performance in Tokyo. 

The draw of the badminton tournament brought the following result for Sabrina Jaquet (BWF 46): She will meet Tai Tzu Ying (BWF No. 1 from Taiwan), Vietnamese Thuy Linh Nguyen (BWF 49) and French Qi Xuefei (BWF 41). Only the top of the group qualifies for the knockout round.

Previous Swiss players at the Olympic Games

1992: Singles: Silvia Albrecht/ Doubles: Silvia Albecht/Bettina Villars

1996: Singles: Thomas Wapp and Santi Wibowo and both together in the Mixed

2000: no participation

2004: no participation

2008: Singles: Christian Bösiger and Jeanine Cicognini

2012: Singles: Sabrina Jaquet 

2016: Singles: Sabrina Jaquet 

2020: Singles: Sabrina Jaquet

Tokyo 2020: Possible participant lists published

Since the last two tournaments in Malaysia and Singapore were cancelled due to the Corona pandemic, the presumed participants are now basically fixed.
However, their participation still has to be confirmed by the respective national sports federation and the National Olympic Committees (NOC). Multiple Swiss champion Sabrina Jaquet is ranked 26th on the "Road to Tokyo" qualification list and would thus be the only Swiss badminton player at the Olympic badminton tournament, as she was in 2012 and 2016.

BWF Olympic Ranking

Durch die Absage der letzten beiden Turnier in Malaysia und in Singapore wurden einige Top-Stars um ihre Qualifikationschancen gebracht. Zum Beispiel Saina Nehwal aus Indien. Sie belegt Rang 22 auf der Rangliste «Road to Tokyo». Da pro Nation aber nur zwei SpielerInnen/Paare an den Start gehen dürfen, wenn beide unter den Top 16 im Einzel bzw. Top 8 im Doppel sind, darf die ehemalige Weltranglistenerste nicht nach Tokyo, da ihre Landsfrau Sindhu Pursala Rang sieben belegt.

Japan's Sayaka Takahashi has been hit very hard. She is 11th on the ranking list - but unfortunately, with Nozomi Okuhara (3rd) and Akane Yamaguchi (5th), two other Japanese players are ahead of her on the ranking list and qualified for Tokyo. In this case, the Japanese Badminton Federation has the final say and can decide which player to propose to the NOC for nomination.

It remains 3 x 21!

Big surprise at the delegates' meeting of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) this Saturday. In the run-up, most badminton fans had expected that the 3 x 21 counting system in force since 1.8.2006 would be replaced by the 5 x 11 system (three winning sets to 11 points). But the delegates vote against it. 188 votes would have been necessary for a change - but there were only 187 votes. A shock for all supporters including the old and new President Poul-Erik Hoyer. He was a big supporter of the 5 x 11 system, and it failed for the second time after 2018. This means that in future the system will continue to be 3 x 21 points.

Comes 5 times 11?

The time seems ripe for a renewal.

Vor drei Jahren wurde bei der Jahreshauptversammlung des Weltverbandes BWF der Vorschlag, die Zählweise 5 x 11 (drei Gewinnsätze bis 11 Punkte in allen Disziplinen) einzuführen, von der Mehrheit der versammelten Delegierten abgelehnt. Nur 129 Stimmen waren dafür – nötig gewesen wären aber 168 Stimmen.

But this year there could be a change. The Indonesian federation PBSI will officially make the proposal to change to 5 x 11. The federation is confident of the support of the continental federation Badminton Asia certainly after the Chinese federation had also gained good experience at the national championships in November 2020. However, 7 x 11 was played there (four winning sets to 11 points).

So it may well be that the 3 x 21 counting method in operation since 1 August 2006 will soon be a thing of the past. The decision will be made on 22 May at the BWF Assembly of Delegates, which, like last year, will only be held virtually. 

Final Four – die Playoff der NLA

An diesem Wochenende finden die beiden Playoff-Halbfinale sowie das Finale der Nationalliga A statt. Die besten vier Teams nach der verkürzten Saison (es wurden nur die Matches der Hinrunde absolviert) treffen im Sportcenter Blue Point in Uster aufeinander. Das sind: das Team Argovia, der BC Uzwil, der BC Zürich sowie der BC Yverdon-les-Bains.

Einen Favoriten auf den Meistertitel zu benennen, ist schwierig. Zwar haben sich alle Teams mit SpielerInnen aus dem Ausland verstärkt, wer aber schlussendlich an diesem Wochenende spielen wird, ist offen. Aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie sind keine Zuschauer zugelassen, man kann aber die Matches auf youtube live verfolgen.

Um 14.00 Uhr spielen das Team Argovia und der BC Zürich gegeneinander und frühestens um 17.30 Uhr folgte das andere Halbfinale zwischen Uzwil und Yverdon. Die beiden Siegerteams spielen dann am Sonntag um 11.00 Uhr um den Meistertitel.

Link zu Resultaten

Badminton v Corona 3:2

Final day in Kiev at the European Badminton Championships. Out of five finals, only three will take place. The reason: two players tested positive for the Corona virus after their semi-final matches. As the second test on Sunday morning was also positive, Viktor Axelsen (DEN, finalist in singles) as well as Mark Lamsfuss (GER, finalist in doubles) had to stay in the hotel room instead of playing their finals. And probably for another 13 days, unless another solution for the athletes is found on a diplomatic level.

Similar to the Indonesian players at the All England Championships in March, who were flown back to Jakarta after a few days in quarantine. Their bad luck had been that another passenger on their flight to Birmingham had tested positive.

Back to the European Championships. So the title in the men's singles went without a fight to Anders Antonsen from Denmark and in the doubles to the two Russians Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov.
In the women's singles, Spain's Carolina Marin won for the fifth time in a row (2-set victory over 21-year-old Dane Line Christophersen). In the women's doubles, Bulgarian number one seeds Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva won in two sets against Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith (ENG) with 21:14 and 21:19. There was a surprise in the mixed. The 6th seeded Russians Rodion Alimov/Alina Davletova won the title after defeating Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith (ENG) 2:1.

Link to the results

Aline and Jenjira in the 1/4 final

After 2017, Swiss players once again have a chance to win a medal at a European Badminton Championship. Aline Müller/ Jenjira Stadelmann narrowly beat French pair Emilie Lefel/ Anne Tran in three sets 21-16/ 7-21/ 21-19 yesterday evening to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. With the victory of the two Swiss players (BWF 151) against the favoured French players (BWF 24), the reigning Swiss champions achieved a small sensation. Tonight, Friday, they will play for a medal. They will play the 5th match after 5 pm against the number three seeded Danes Sara Thygesen/ Maiken Fruergaard (BWF 16).