On Sunday, Peter Gade, one of badminton’s living legends, was given a warm goodbye celebration by the French public in Paris, during the finals of the Yonex French Open 2012. He received a bottle of wine as a present from the French Federation before the 3,000 spectators cheered for a long, standing ovation. He gave his last shirt for auction to raise funds for Solibad – Badminton without Borders.
Paris, France, October 29th, 2012
Two days earlier, Peter Gade had lost in the quarter-finals of the event, playing there the last international match of his 15-year career in the senior circuit. Peter Gade retired from international badminton after his three-game defeat at the hands of compatriot Jan Ø. Jørgensen. In fact, as a further sign of passing the baton to the new generation of Danish players, Viktor Axelsen was later on to enter the final of the event. After Gade’s match, too, the crowd in the Stade de Coubertin arena had celebrated the five-time European Champion with a standing ovation.
With the retirement of Peter Gade, a long badminton era ends. The Dane collected 22 titles from Superseries and Grand Prix events and took 5 World Championship medals as well (silver in 2001 and bronze in 1999, 2005, 2010, and 2011). In 1999, he won the All-England Championships. Furthermore he became the most successful European singles player in Asia of all time by winning 13 tournaments titles in the Far East.
Peter Gade has been a great and professional ambassador for European badminton. With his unique style, he inspired hundred thousands of young players all around the world. He will be missed.
“It was the time and place for ending my tournament career in the world of badminton,” said Gade. “I could think of no better place to do this and even though I lost my match against my compatriot Jan Ø. Jørgensen, I enjoyed every second on court. I’ve had many feelings go through my mind before and after the match but I feel good about ending this way.”
When asked to describe the key moments of his playing career, the Dane answered: “I cannot pick one out of all the memories because it seems like it was a lifetime ago when I started playing. It’s very difficult. One thing for sure is that some of my best memories are here in Paris, but also at home in the Copenhagen Masters.
“Also, I like to play the Thomas Cup for Denmark as a team. To be leading my team has been a great honour and I will always remember that. Winning the All England, of course, as well as beating Lin Dan at home in China.”
“Keep the tradition going”
In an interview he gave to Badzine TV right after he left the court side for the last time of his career in a BWF international tournament, Peter Gade hinted that he would like to coach at some point. “I don’t know whether I will be coaching them [Viktor Axelsen, Jan O. Jorgensen, etc] at some point, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll take the younger generation and try to bring them forward. No matter what, I think I will be coaching in some ways and hopefully I can give something back to men’s singles and keep the tradition going.”
For Finn Traerup Hansen, Denmark’s Performance Director, Peter is more than just any player. “There is no doubt that Peter Gade has been the foremost face of Danish badminton in Asia for the recent 10 years. He has carried on the proud tradition of Danish men’s singles in a manner that demands respect from compatriots as well as opponents.
“He has developed to become more than the badminton player Gade. We know him as a person in flesh and blood in good and in hard times. A person we can relate to most often leaves behind a lasting impression. I’m sure that is the case of Peter Gade.”
One last time, and charity events
Peter Gade is now back to Copenhagen, his hometown, and is enjoying some time with his two daughters, Nanna, 8 and Alma, 4.
There will be another two occasions for his fans to see him on a badminton court – first, against Lin Dan, for a special match during the Copenhagen Masters, on December 27th 2012 for what will be his official retirement match.
“Bringing Lin Dan to Copenhagen where he had never been was a way for me to thank my Danish fans for all their support all these years,” said Gade.
Then, Peter will feature on April 27th, 2013 in the second edition of “One Night with Stars” in Geneva, Switzerland – an evening of exhibition matches with other current or former stars to raise funds for the foundation Solibad – Badminton without Borders, of which he is one of the main Ambassadors. His last T-shirt, worn during the ceremony where he was presented with the award at the French Open, is currently being auctioned for Solibad and bidding will run until November 10th, 2013
Peter is also an Ambassador for the foundation Red Barnet in Denmark
A biography of Peter Gade, written by Danish reporter Kristine Wilkens, was recently released in Danish and will be translated into English in 2013.
The full Interview on Badzine TV (free of rights with credit to Badzine.net)
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