(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Peter Gade: There is no limit on how far you can go
Date: 4/4/2021 6:33 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Five-time European gold medallist and BEC Hall of Famer, Peter Gade, paved a unique path to legendary status in badminton. Learn about his achievements, his view of badminton now and his toughest opponent he ever faced. 

The Danish sensation interestingly shot to stardom winning the World Junior Championships gold in 1994, not in singles, but in men’s doubles with Peder Nissen. A year later he won the European Junior Championships double gold in singles and again with Nissen in the doubles, defeating Jonas Rasmussen/ Søren Hansen. 

Despite his success in two categories, Gade focused on singles and went on to win 22 titles with a notable All England Open win in 1999, and also became a four-time Olympian for Denmark. 

In December 2012, upon retiring from the game, Gade played in a farewell exhibition match in Copenhagen against Lin Dan, considered the greatest of all time. In 2015, the Legends' Vision, a long-term promise to grow the sport included Gade along with four other decorated badminton players - Taufik Hidayat, Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Lee Yong Dae. 

In 2018, Gade entered into the BEC Hall of Fame, accompanying Erland Kops, Lene Køppen, Gillian Gilks, Morten Frost and Nora Perry.

- I am very honoured, I am very proud to achieve this award. I am very happy to be part of this prestigious club of great, great European players.

Gade famously had 11 years without losing even a single match to any European player, however, embraced the leading role he played in taking on the very best Asia had to offer.

- There is no doubt that I have enjoyed representing Europe against all the Asian players, fighting all the Asian players for many, many years. But I have been very happy and very honoured to have the support from Badminton Europe.

The ‘Peter Gade - The last goodbye’ video, watched by over 100,000 people can be viewed here

No limit
As we are gearing up towards the 2021 European Championships taking place in Kyiv, it is apt that the five-time champion took the time to speak with Ukrainian journalist Max Sydorenko, citing his interest was peaked as badminton is an emerging sport in the Eastern European nation. 

In all of Gade’s European Championship finals, spanning over a decade, from 1998 to 2010, his finals day opponents have also hailed from Denmark – Poul-Erik Høyer, Kenneth Jonassen and Jan Ø Jørgensen. In fact, since the turn of the millennium, only two men’s singles champions have come from outside Denmark. Gade discusses why this may be. 

-There is a big tradition and culture of badminton in Denmark. It has been developing for many years. Coaches, players, the whole environment know that they have to think long-term. They do not think only about the next tournament. If you want to be as good as possible, you have to develop a long-term vision.

Currently, the number two and three in the world are Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen. Gade uses them as an example of players who have a key ingredient for success. 

-I also look at how fast you learn. If you look at the good players, like Viktor Axelsen or Anders Antonsen, the way they learn things is impressive. They might do mistakes, they are still young players, but they learn and they do not repeat these mistakes.

-If you are fast in learning, there is no limit on how far you can go.

With all of the top stars who played with Peter Gade now mostly retired, it feels like a new era has begun. However, Gade keeps a keen eye on today’s talents. 

-Kento Momota may be the one, who will keep a very high level, but still, I am sure that he can be a lot better. I hope that he and Viktor can even raise the bar. We will see in the coming years a new group of legends. Antonsen could be another one, who will join these two.

Finally, when asked out of all the elite players he has faced in his career, who was the toughest. Gade gave his verdict. 

-I enjoyed playing against all of them. But if I have to pick out one and say, 'he was the toughest one’, I will name Lin Dan. I did not play against any player of Lin Dan’s level during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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