­COPENHAGEN MASTERS 2012 – Farvel Peter Gade

It was the perfect scoreline, the perfect opponent, the perfect audience, the perfect ending.  Today, the badminton world bid goodbye to Peter Gade as he officially marks the end of […]

It was the perfect scoreline, the perfect opponent, the perfect audience, the perfect ending.  Today, the badminton world bid goodbye to Peter Gade as he officially marks the end of his 16-year career as a professional badminton player at 2012, winning his farewell match against Lin Dan in 20-22, 21-16, 21-14.

Serla Rusli and Yanyan Emily, Badzine Correspondents live from Copenhagen.  Photos: Yves Lacroix for Badmintonphoto

It was an atmosphere like no other at Falkoner Centret at the heart of Copenhagen, brimming with eager spectators, including the Crown Prince of Denmark, Prince Frederik.  Even though the crowd was certainly pleased by the superb performances of their homeground heroes Jan O Jorgensen, Joachim Fischer / Christinna Pedersen and Mathias Boe / Carsten Morgensen, who cruised through to the finals, nothing could beat the excitement that buzzed through the hall as the spectators grew restless in anticipation of Peter Gade’s final showdown.

The Dane entered the court to endless applause and cheering from the audience, most donning Peter Gade masks in his honour.  Having only beaten the Chinese “Super Dan” on 3 out of 20 encounters previously, it was definitely a bitter-sweet ending for Peter to finally taste victory again against his ‘nemesis’ in a highly entertaining 63-minute match.

“It is very special for me to play this match.  Especially during the hours before this match, I felt very emotional, but I’m glad it became a great evening.  I’m glad to have played at a high level and I’m thankful for all the support throughout the years,” reflected Peter.

“I didn’t expect to beat Lin Dan.  It was surely hard for him to play his game.  It is a match I’ve looked forward to for a long time and I’ve never had the experience of preparing for one match for so long.  That’s why I feel relieved and good after the match.  Lin Dan is a wonderful player.”

In the end, not only did he emerge as the winner of the match but he also walked away as a living legend.  He received a highly deserved standing ovation from the emotional crowd.

“I feel tonight is the right time to stop.  And I want to play my last match in Copenhagen Masters, where I feel at home and it’s my favourite court in the world.  I achieved a lot of things, but there are also a few things I didn’t achieve.  I just know that I don’t regret anything, and feel lucky and privileged.

“It is strange to say goodbye to the identity as a badminton player and I will bring all the good memories with me.  But it will also be good to set new goals in relation to other things in the future.

“I’m very proud and want to say a thousand thanks to Lin Dan for coming.  I know he has been busy recently due to the Olympic Games and his wedding.  I thank Lin Dan for letting Danish badminton fans see him live in action.  I couldn’t think of anyone better than Lin Dan to play the match with.  For me, Lin Dan is the world’s best.”

Lin Dan and Peter Gade have been the best of competitors and faced each other twenty times since 2002.

“I have complicated feelings when playing this match.  It is an important match for me as Peter has been an important competitor for the last 10 years of my career.

“When I was younger I only watched two players: Peter Gade and Chinese player Sun Jun.  Peter Gade is the greatest player in Europe, and in the world.  I will miss him of course.  If there is one thing I learn from him, it is his love for badminton.  I am inspired by his love for the sport and it makes me love badminton even more.

“I wish him the best and hope for a great new beginning.”

Other badminton shuttlers certainly shared Lin Dan’s sentiments towards Peter.

“Peter is my idol, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to come here and watch him play for the last time,” admitted Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.  Boonsak lost to Denmark’s curre­­nt #2 singles player and defending champion, Jan O Jorgensen.

“Young players like us should learn from Peter, who is still on form until today when he’s 36,” commented Fran Kurniawan from Indonesia.  Fran, with his partner Shendy Puspa, crashed under relentless attacks from Danish mixed doubles duo Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen.

The special evening ended in high spirits with Peter sharing a glimpse of where to find ­him in the future.

“I will join a youth talent project in Copenhagen area.  I will also be one of the ambassadors for Danish companies in China and other parts of Asia.”

Thank you Peter Gade!

About Serla Rusli