Peter Gade: I want to give France that little “extra”

Peter Gade will join France on May 15th as its new Performance Director, for a 5-year contract. The Dane is impatient to start on the job, which is a new […]

Peter Gade will join France on May 15th as its new Performance Director, for a 5-year contract. The Dane is impatient to start on the job, which is a new challenge for him. He comes at a time where French badminton deals with an unprecedented internal dispute. His arrival could be a good way to make a new start as the Olympic qualifying period starts.

By Raphael Sachetat.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The love story continues between Peter Gade and France. The Dane had always voiced his love for this country and it was in the city of romance – Paris – that he ended officially his career, losing in the quarter-final of the 2012 French Open to Jan O Jorgensen. This time, the links will be even stronger after the French Federation announced last Saturday at its Annual General Meeting that the Dane would join them as the new man in charge. On Wednesday morning, in the French training centre INSEP on the outskirts of Paris, Gade gave a press conference for French media.

“I am really happy to take on this new challenge. It’s a great opportunity, both as a sporting experience, but also a lifetime experience. I believe that France has the resources and the potential to be on the world map and I hope that I can help the country go to the next level. I hope that I can give France that little extra that can make a difference. My role here will be mostly to make sure that everyone is working in the same direction: the players, the coaches, the management.  I see everywhere that there is a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of motivation. Also, the coaches and the management have done a great job so far and my role will be to continue this work and help build a long lasting structure. I don’t do short term – this is a long term project,” said the Dane, who is expected to work on different levels to help promote the sport and raise the bar in the country.

Things will not change in one day, but I will set high standards for coaches, players as well as for myself. I will now adapt my knowledge and experience to a new culture that I have to discover. I will not be a copy and paste of what’s happening anywhere else as I will try to combine different things to be the most effective here, not only for the players at INSEP, but also for training centres for youngsters as well as French Clubs,” Gade added.

Life opportunity in times of trouble

For French Federation President, Richard Remaud, this is a lifetime opportunity for French badminton. “We have wanted to put France on the world map, by restructuring the sport through employment, hosting or bidding for major events – at least once a year from 2013 to 2023- but we were missing a high level expertise, this is why we are delighted to have Peter Gade who will fill this gap.

Philippe Limouzin, the French Technical Director (DTN), mentioned that this was the first time that the Federation itself was investing in high level competition in recruiting Gade.  The government, through the Sports Ministry, usually pays for coaches and management.  This time, it will be 100% funded by the French Federation. His idea behind the new set-up is to bring France to win important medals.

“We’ve been close to winning medals for some time, and we hope that now, we will be on the podiums of important events,” Limouzin announced. In the back of his mind lies the European Championships 2016, which will be hosted in the city of La Roche sur Yon, in the western border region of France.

The new coaching set-up will probably be revealed in the weeks to come as Bertrand Gallet and Svetoslav Stoyanov, currently in position, have been asked whether they would stay.  They have not yet made public their decision.

“We have asked them if they wanted to be part of this new set-up, and they are yet to answer. It is a possibility that there will be some changes,” said Limouzin.

Their answer will most likely depend on how an internal dispute is dealt with. The French Federation is still currently struggling with internal troubles after some players had voiced their concerns about playing in the European Games in Baku in June – a request from the Federation – while they could win Olympic qualifying points in tournaments in the USA and Canada at the same time. Following this episode, two coaches were suspended just before the European Mixed Team Championships (Leuven, Belgium)  in February and French #1 player was suspended during the event. A disciplinary commission of the French Federation will decide in a few days what sanction will be finally given to the athletes who had threatened not to play in Leuven.

Gade mentioned that even though he would not take part in the dispute, that he vows for everyone to work closely together when he gets in charge. Dealing with the effects of this dispute will be probably one of his first challenges. He starts his journey with the French players after the Sudirman Cup and his contract is a 5-year contract, possibly renewable. His contract is a full time contract with the French Federation, yet Gade is expected to travel back and forth to Denmark as his two daughters are still living there.

Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.