Lene Køppen only lacked THE championship among her collection of big titles: All England. She succeeded when she participated for the 10th time.
She won the final in 1979 but she had to fight tremendously hard against the Japanese Saori Kondo. 12-9 in the first set to Lene, but 1-11 in the second and 2-7 in the third before she regained control of the match. She won 11-8 and she could accept the challenge cup she had wanted for so long. Five times in the semi-final and once in the final – and that was even in Lene’s golden year, 1977, but that year Hiroe Yuki got in her way and Køppen lost 7-11 in the third set. The year after she unexpectedly was defeated by Wendy Clarkson (Canada) in the quarter final. In mixed doubles this year, she reached the final with Steen Skovgaard but lost.
Lene Køppen started, according to today’s standards, with badminton rather late. She tried her luck with swimming at first but started playing badminton around the age of 14. She won one youth championship in women’s singles in 1971 and two in women’s doubles with Anne Bergfund, plus a European youth championship. Since then Lene Køppen turned out to be the strongest Danish female player – the greatest ever some might say.
From 1972 to the beginning of the 80s Lene Køppen won the Danish singles-championships. Add to those five titles in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. And she won even more Nordic Championships, seven in singles, seven in women’s doubles and five in mixed doubles. No one has exceeded that. In 1978 she won the European Championships.
Lene Køppen won the World Championships in 1977 in both singles and mixed doubles. She reached the quarter final without problems. She didn’t have to play until the third round and Jane Webster from Britain got two times five. The quarter final against Saori Kondo turned out to be more of a problem and the Japanese girl managed to take the first set but then she only got five and three in the next two sets. The British girl was powerless in the semi-final and she only got three in the first and an embarrassing 0 in the second set. The final offered the entire excitement one could dream of and ended 12-9, 12-10.
Lene Køppen then received IBF’s Gold medal from the Swedish King as the first player ever. Lene played 48 national matches for Denmark from 1971-1983.
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