Flemming Delfs

Flemming Delfs dominated in the season 1976-77, which gave him victories in just about all the important tournaments.
He impressed everybody with his great talent at All England in 1977, when he won the tournament. Liem Swie King was defeated in a final, where Flemming played better than ever. He was a worthy successor to the title after Rudy Hartono, who he had lost to in a close match the year before in the semi-final, and Hartono won his eight championships with 18-15 in the last set.
Flemming Delfs reached another final in 1979, but this time he was powerless against the very fast Indonesian Liem Swie King, who won for the second year in a row. The season 1976-77 gave Flemming Delfs his first European Championship in men’s singles, a victory that he repeated two years later.
In 1969 he became the first European Youth Champion. As a youth player he got his break through as Under16 by winning the singles-category. He won three singles titles in the Under18 category. Lucky enough to have been born on September 7th, he was able to win three times in a row, as the age limit for youth players was moved from January to September.
It was difficult for him to get to the top as a senior. Svend Pri lasted a long time at the top but in 1976 Flemming won the men’s singles, and he also won in 1977. In 1975 and 1976 he became champion in men’s doubles with Elo Hansen and in 1978 with Steen Skovgaard. He became Nordic Champion in 1976 in singles and in 1978 in men’s doubles with Skovgaard.
The World Championships in 1977, the first “real” World Championship, was one of the highlights of his career. Flemming Delfs was actually out of the tournament if British sportsmanship had not come into play in the shape of Ray Stevens. Delfs had lost the first set but won the second. Break. Ray Stevens entered the court but not Delfs, and when the allowed five minutes had passed the umpire, Ole Mertz, disqualified his fellow countryman in accordance with the rules. But Stevens wanted to win on the court and not by WO, and the match went on with Delfs as the winner. He had a tough match against the Japanese Zeniya, who won the first set and had several matchpoints before Delfs won the second set. But the Indonesian, Sumirat, was powerless against Delfs in the semi-final and he also crushed Svend Pris’ hopes of getting the title. Delfs played with a lot of confidence and never allowed his training-buddy to enter the match and Delfs won with 15-5, 15-6.
Flemming Delfs thus became the first World Champion in men’s singles.
Flemming played 55 matches for the Danish national team from 1970-1982.

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