2 team titles each for Denmark, Canada, & Australia

Denmark looks good and ready to host the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in May after both the men’s and women’s teams prevailed at the European Team Badminton Championships, while […]

Denmark looks good and ready to host the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in May after both the men’s and women’s teams prevailed at the European Team Badminton Championships, while Canada and Australia booked their tickets to Denmark with similar feats in their respective continents.

Photos: Mark Phelan / Badmintonphoto (live)

As host of this year’s Thomas and Uber Cup Finals, Denmark was assured of the participation of both its teams regardless of the outcome of the European Men’s and Women’s Team Badminton Championships.  But that did not stop the continent’s powerhouse from arriving in Liévin, France, determined to stamp their authority on the event.

The Danish men sailed through the tournament without losing a single match, nay, without dropping even one game!  The final against the Netherlands was over in no time.  The longest match was the 38-minute contest at second singles, where Anders Antonsen (pictured right) shut down Joran Kweekel to seal the victory for Denmark.

Earlier in the day, the women’s team final involved a little more suspense.  Germany started off the tie with a hard-fought win for Yvonne Li (pictured left) over Julie Dawall Jakobsen.  After dropping the first game 19-21, Li eked out a 24-22 win in the second and then took it home 21-16 to put Germany ahead in the tie.

Next up, world #36 Alexandra Bøje / Mette Poulsen (pictured below) needed 80 minutes to put down Germany’s Linda Efler / Isabel Herttrich.  The Danes needed 3 match points but they secured the deciding game 21-19 to even the score going into the second singles match.

Unlike in past , Denmark was unable to depend on top-ten players to give them the edge and instead most matches were contested by pretty even sides.  The biggest ranking gap was second singles, where world #49 Line Christophersen won in straight games over #65 Fabienne Deprez.  The second doubles featured two scratch pairings and although Maiken Fruergaard and Amalie Magelund dropped the opening game to Stine Küspert and Kilasu Ostermeyer, they won the next two convincingly and sealed the victory for Team Denmark.

The six other European teams bound for the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals all booked their spots on the strength of reaching the semi-finals in Liévin.  To make up Europe’s quota, the highest-ranked non-semi-finalists will also be going to Aarhus in May.  That will be the Russian women’s team and the English men’s team.

Unlike Europe, Pan Am, Oceania, and Africa will only be sending one men’s and one women’s team each to Denmark for the Finals.  Canada and Australia each titled in both events on Sunday.  Canada’s women needed six straight games to prevail over the United States, while in the men’s final, Luis Armando Montoya Navarro took one for Mexico, beating Antonio Li of Canada.  Then Brian Yang came back on court and added a doubles win to his victory in first singles and the northerners took that title too with a 3-1 win in the tie.

Australia had a much tougher time of it.  Both titles came down to the last tie in the round robin between arch rivals Australia and New Zealand.  In the men’s event, individual singles champion Abhinav Manota bested Anthony Joe of Australia to give New Zealand an early lead but the Australians won the next three matches to seal the victory.

The women’s event was a little more straightforward.  Catelyn Rozario showed a ray of hope for her team when she beat Tiffany Ho but that was to be New Zealand’s only win as the Australians took it 4-1.

In the Badminton Asia Team Championships, Indonesia and Japan each repeated, as men’s and women’s champions respectively.  In the women’s event, China, Chinese Taipei, and India will be going to the Uber Cup Finals, along with the four continental semi-finalists.  The Thomas Cup Finals in May will feature China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Thailand in addition to the final four teams in Manila.  The Thais barely edge out Hong Kong on overall team ranking to secure the last spot for the Finals.

The Badminton Confederation of Africa held its team event early and on the weekend finished up the All Africa Individual Badminton Championships.  Mauritius picked up both singles titles but Doha Hany (pictured left), of the host Egyptian team, won gold in women’s and mixed doubles.  Nigeria, left out of the team event because of late visa approval, was denied gold in the individual event as all 3 of their defending champions lost on finals day.

The win in mixed doubles by Hany and Adham Hatem Elgamal makes for several changes in Tokyo qualifying as the Egyptians thus move into the top 50 and activate the African continental Olympic quota spot.  This in turn takes Wang Chi Lin and Cheng Chi Ya out of contention for now, and without Wang qualifying in two events, it takes the last qualifier off the men’s singles list.  But a loss for Hungary’s Gergely Krausz is also a gain of sorts in women’s singles, as Fabiana Silva of Brazil can hang onto her singles spot, as one opens up due to Hany qualifying in two disciplines just as another closed with Lauren Smith dropping to just one Tokyo ticket.

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net