Photo: Badmintonphoto
BREAKING: Viktor Axelsen is Olympic Champion!
Date: 8/2/2021 3:48 PM
Published by : Rasmus Bech(BEC)

Viktor Axelsen is the first European men’s singles player to win the Olympics in 25 years.

2 August 2021 was a historical day. For the first time since Poul-Erik Høyer made it to the Atlanta final in 1996, a European men’s singles player had made it to the final of all finals. After a great Olympic campaign, Viktor Axelsen entered court to face Chinese super star, Chen Long, in the golden match up.

The Tokyo 2020 men’s singles final was a rematch of the Rio 2016 semifinals, in which Chen Long came out on top after a straight games win. Five years later, the opening of the first game was as close as expected. Based on a streak of four points, Axelsen took the lead 11-9 at the interval and the Dane was controlling.

Axelsen won the first game 21-15.

The way to the final
The journey towards the Olympic final has been a different story for Axelsen and Chen Long:

Axelsen has been dominating against the players ranked below him not losing a single game to Luka Wraber (Austria), Kalle Koljonen (Finland), Wang Tzu Wei (Chinese Taipei), Shi Yuqi (China) and Kevin Cordon (Guatemala).

Chen Long outplayed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the semifinals and throughout the Olympic tournament, the reigning champion has been playing more players ranked above him and losing games against players such as Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) and Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei).

Before the match, the Danish coach, former top player Kenneth Jonassen, told Danish DR that he saw the match up as a 50-50. Maybe even with Viktor Axelsen as a small underdog based on what he had seen from Chen Long during the Tokyo Olympics.

Long history
Before the Olympic final, Axelsen and Long had met 19 times before (14-5, Chen Long), with the first match up going as far back as China Open 2012.

Nine years later in the second game of the Olympic final, Viktor Axelsen continued to play with great calmness and coolness.

Axelsen took the lead 4-1 in the second game, and Chen Long could see himself trailing in the beginning of the game.

Long rallies
Like in the first game, the rallies were long and played to the line of the court, but it was still the two-times European Champion in the lead. Axelsen had a four points gap, 11-7, at the interval.

Chen Long and Viktor Axelsen are two of the players being hard to outrun. At the same time, both players played up to their outmost in as well defence as offence, and the final will be one to remember. Especially for Axelsen.

Viktor Axelsen won the Tokyo Olympics men’s singles final after winning the second game 21-12.

With the win Viktor Axelsen became the only second European men’s singles player to win the Olympic title following in the footsteps of Poul-Erik Høyer, who won the title back in 1996 beating – like Axelsen – a Chinese opponent, Dong Jiong, in the final.

With the Olympic gold medal, Axelsen now has a full house. No titles are missing for the Danish super star.

Viktor Axelsen – notable achievements:

Olympic Champion 2021

Olympic bronze medallist 2016

World Champion 2017

European Champion 2016 & 2018

Thomas Cup Champion 2016

European Men’s Team Champion 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020

European Mixed Team Champion 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021

All England Champion 2020

The fairy tale came to an end
If you remember the 2011 World Championships in London, you remember Kevin Cordon beating Chen Long in the first round. If you have followed the Tokyo Olympics, you also remember Kevin Cordon. The men’s singles player from Guatemala has been the fairy tale story at the Tokyo Olympic making it to the semifinals, where he lost to Viktor Axelsen.

In the bronze medal match up against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, Indonesia, Cordon was trailing, and the Indonesian favourite won the opening game 21-11.

In the second game it was another uphill battle for Cordon. For the first time since the 2004 Olympics, Indonesia claimed a medal in the men’s singles category. Ginting won the second game 21-13 and won the bronze medal, like Sony Dwi Kuncoro did in Athens 17 years ago.

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