TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) – Denmark has not received a badminton gold medal since Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen beat China’s Dong Jiong on the 1996 Atlanta Olympics however that could possibly be about to alter in Tokyo.
With 11 gamers – together with Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen – ranked within the prime 20, Denmark has by no means had a greater shot at medaling on the Video games in a sport dominated by Asian international locations.
Badminton, which traces its roots again to historic Greece, India and China, was not launched in Denmark till the Nineteen Twenties however has develop into one of many nation’s most beloved sports activities.
The Danes have received solely eight of the 106 Olympic medals accessible from 1992 to 2016, whereas Asian athletes account for 92, however they’ve excessive hopes this yr, significantly in males’s singles the place Axelsen and Antonsen rank just under primary Kento Momota of Japan.
“Antonsen has bought a heck of an opportunity. I believe he is a strong participant,” Steve Kearney, director of USA Para-Badminton, mentioned. “I would not say favorite however he is a strong participant.”
Axelsen, who received a bronze medal at Rio, additionally praised Antonsen, saying he’s actually fortunate to have the ability to apply with him.
“We have now a powerful custom, we’ve got many Danish golf equipment, a extremely wholesome membership system et cetera,” Axelsen mentioned. “We have now a number of good former gamers who’re type of coming into the herd and serving to all of the younger gamers – and that is a giant, huge benefit.”
Danish coaches are additionally in excessive demand, with India’s Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy hiring former Olympic silver medallist Mathias Boe as their new coach in January.
Reporting by Richa Naidu;Enhancing by Peter Rutherford
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