(Photo: BWF / Badmintonphoto)
Axelsen gets off the mark
Date: 5/26/2024 3:30 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The noise was deafening in the Axiata Arena, Kuala Lumpur, for finals day. We saw European stars get off the mark in 2024 with important World Tour title wins!

European Champions, Kim Astrup/ Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, had a sensational 2023, picking up four titles on the World Tour. Badminton Europe yesterday announced the pair as winners of the BEC Male Player of the Year. 

In 2024, they were hunting their first title after being runners up at the Indonesia Masters. This week, no pair could stop them as they went on a straight game run all the way to the title. The Danes defeated Koreans Jin Yong/ Na Sung Seung 21-18, 21-14, and celebrated in their usual fun way. This time cupping their ears to the loud crowd. 

Are they finding their form just in time to challenge for the podium in Paris?

Axelsen gets his title
The reigning Olympic champion, Viktor Axelsen, has been imperious over the past few years, collecting no less than 17 World Tour titles since his gold in Tokyo. The fact that he hadn’t won a title yet in 2024 began to plant seeds of doubt about the defence of his Olympic title in Paris this year. 

This week marked an opportunity to put that worry to bed and he took it with both hands. Axelsen found him self in the final against Lee Zii Jia, supported by his adoring Malaysian fans. 

Axelsen sprinted out of the blocks with Lee not quite up to speed, taking the opening game 21-6. Lee looked uncomfortable in his movement, perhaps suffering from cramp that bothered him in his semifinal against Ng Ka Long. However, he dug in and managed to squeeze out the game 22-20. 

On the better side, Axelsen shot away again with a strong attacking game. Then Lee approached the net and shook Axelsen’s hand, indicating his discomfort. The crowd cried out for him to continue. So, he did. 

A valiant effort from Lee, forcing Axelsen to remain focused, but it was too much. The world number one got his title, winning 21-13 in the decider. Certainly, an important confidence booster in the lead up to this year’s main event. 

For the full results, click here

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