Youngsters shine as Denmark do Double
Date: 2/16/2014 10:05 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

Denmark retained their men’s team gold and reclaimed the women’s gold this afternoon in Basel and in doing so reasserted their dominance in European team events after a few cold years in the wilderness. Both men’s and women’s teams were awash with experienced world class player but it was their younger generation who made their mark this week in Basel by winning some vital points in crucial matches.

Such was the contribution of Line Kjærsfeldt this week that Denmark did not need to call on world number 2 women’s doubles pairing Juhl and Pedersen for any matches in the knockout stages of the women’s event. The 19 year old Dane led the line from the front and her defeat of Natalia Perminova at first singles in today’s final against Russia was both ruthless and graceful as Kjaersfeldt begins to repay the faith of her coaches over the past years.

“I have had a good week here in Basel and I have enjoyed it very much. I knew how important it was to win the first point and I am happy I did it for my team” said the softly spoken Dane.

As Kjaersfeldt is shy and reserved so Sandra Maria Jensen is the complete opposite, but they go together like a good cheese and wine. Jensen’s power and ‘in your face’ game was just to potent for Ella Diehl at second singles and inside 1 hour Denmark had raced to a 2-0 lead in the tie.

Two weeks ago Mia Blichfeldt was just another promising youngster coming off the seemingly endless production line of Danish talent. Two weeks later, at just 16 years of age, Blichfeldt is national senior champion and the player who won the decisive point for Denmark in a major European final.

Even ahead of her match against 22 year old Russian Anastasia Chervaykova, her team mates were playing down her chances and isolating her from any pressure.

“Mia has nothing to prove and no pressure to win her match. She needs to just go out and enjoy the experience and learn as we did when we were her age” said Sandra Maria Jensen after taking the second point for Denmark.

Blichfeldt is a player who goes on court to win and her fearless style of play took her to two game win over Chervaykova and with it the gold medal for her team all at the tender age of just 16.

There was relief for all team Denmark when the last shuttle hit the ground and the defeat to Germany two years ago can now be boxed and put away never to haunt them again.

Boe & Mogensen lead by example

There are not many certainties in life but in the European men’s team championship Denmark were once again odds on favourites to lift the title for the 5th consecutive time. Their opponents in today’s final were England and even with player of the tournament, Rajiv Ouseph taking the first singles of Hans Kristian Vittinghus it was still virtually impossible to think that Demark were ever going to lose.

The second match on court was the much anticipated men’s doubles shootout between Boe & Mogensen and the world number 12 pair Ellis and Adcock, who if you remember beat them last year in Russia in the European mixed team championship.

For a brief moment it looked like an upset was on the cards and even with a series of services faults called against him and a yellow card for his troubles Mathias Boe managed stay calm and collected under intense pressure to assist his partner Carsten Mogensen in delivering a point to his team from which they did not look back.

Viktor Axelsen probably had the easiest match of his week at second singles taking down Toby Penty in two games and even had time for some Axelsen swagger on court as he looked to never got out of second gear in the whole match.

“This was a good match for me today. I got off to a quick start and never really looked back from there. It might have been a bit different if we had gone behind 2-0” said Axelsen with a smile on his face.

Mads Conrad Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding finished off the job for Denmark taking the second men’s doubles defeating Chris Langridge and Peter Mills in two games securing yet another men’s team victory for Denmark by 3 matches to 1.

“This is a very proud moment for us, to win the crucial point for your team is many players big dream and we have been fortunate to do this today for our team.” Said Kolding immediately after the decisive match.

Men's event:

GOLD: Denmark
SILVER: England
BRONZE: Finland and Germany

Women's event:

GOLD: Denmark
SILVER: Russia
BRONZE: Bulgaria and Germany

For all results from today’s finals in Basel CLICK HERE

For photo gallery from Basel follow Badminton Europe on Facebook by clicking HERE

Article by Mark Phelan (Live in Basel). Photo by BadmintonPhoto.

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