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.