the stars of yesterday
Ruth Dalsgaard (formerly Frederiksen) was one of the great Danish champions from the 1930s.
Playing with her sister Gerda, Ruth won the National Championship in women’s doubles every year from 1931 to 1935 and once again in 1937. In 1942 she teamed up with a new partner, Jytte Thayssen, and got her hands on the women’s doubles trophy once again.
Ruth was a very versatile badminton player and also took home as many as seven national titles in mixed doubles from 1933 to 1942, mostly teaming up with Tage Madsen. But her impressive record did not stop there.
She was the national champion in women’s singles from 1931 to 1937 when Tonny Ahm took over. Ruth then teamed up with Tonny Ahm, and together they secured one of Ruth’s greatest triumphs – winning the All England Championship in women’s doubles in 1939. Ruth played for Denmark until the mid 1940s.
Tonny Ahm (formerly Olsen) was born 21 September 1914 and is the greatest female badminton player to this date when it comes to accumulating championships.
She took home as many as 25 national championships during a 25 year period- beginning in 1936 and ending in 1957. In addition, the won All England 12 times, twice of which were in the singles category which were played in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1950 and 1952, where she defeated another Danish player, Aase S. Jacobsen.
She won the women’s doubles six times, primarily with another Danish player, Kirsten Thorndahl. They got their hands on the trophy in 1947, 1948, 1950 and 1951. Only once, in 1949, did she experience losing the final in women’s doubles, when the English pair Betty Uber and Q.M. Allen broke her winning streak.
In mixed doubles Tonny entered many tournaments with the Dane Poul Holm with whom she won four All England championships in the years 1947, 1950, 1951 and 1952. This impressive record shows that Tonny actually achieved triple championship in All England, twice.
Tonny also won 12 national championships in women’s singles, nine in women’s doubles as well as four in mixed doubles. She played on the Uber Cup team when the women reached the final in 1957 and played for Denmark 30 times from 1934 to 1957.
Tonny is by far on of the greatest all-round badminton players the Danish badminton scene has ever had the pleasure of encountering.
Jesper Bie became Danish Youth Champion in men’s singles in 1938, and when he was only 17 years old he reached the final as the first Dane at the All England Championships in London in 1938.
Jesper Bie became the first player to “stun” the badminton world with the high badminton-standard that Denmark had obtained. He had, however, to hand over the title to Britain’s best player at the time, Ralph Nicholis, and Jesper Bie never became All England Champion.
Tage Madsen succeeded in becoming the first non-British winner of All England in 1939 – the same year as Ruth Dalsgaard/Tonny Olsen (later Ahm) won the women’s doubles. The tournament was interrupted by WW2 but when it started again in 1947, the Danish players continued where they had left off in 1939.
Besides the All England triumph, Tage Madsen became National Champion several times in all categories. He won the men’s singles in 1938 and 1940 and was undefeated from 1942-1946, where Jørn Skaarup won the title from Tage Madsen. Tage Madsen won the men’s doubles for the first time in 1937 and repeated the success in 1940-1942, 1944 and 1945 with Carl Frøhlke as his partner.
In mixed doubles Tage Madsen won from 1938-1940 and again in 1942, 1946 and 1949 with Ruth Dalsgaard and Kirsten Thorndahl respectively.
He played for the national team until the beginning of the 1950s.
Marie Ussing is the last of the Danish girls for a long period, who managed to compete at the top level of international badminton.
She won the All England Championships in women’s singles in both 1947 and 1953. A fine achievement with so many years in between. She was succeeded by the eminent Judy Devlin, who won All England ten times in the following years. Marie Ussing was the last Danish singles-winner for the next 25 years. The next time a Danish girl wins the women’s singles is in 1979 – Lene Køppen.
Marie Ussing never became a Danish Champion in women’s singles but she won in women’s doubles in 1944, 1945 and 1952 with Jytte Thayssen (Kjems) as her partner. Ussing played for the national team until the mid 50’s.
AASE SCHJØTT JACOBSEN
Aase Schjøtt Jacobsen played in seven finals at All England and won three.
She became champion in singles in 1949 and 1951 and lost the final in 1950 and 1952 to Tonny Ahm. Together they became champions in 1952.
Aase Schiøtt Jacobsen also lost the final in women’s doubles in 1947 with Marie Ussing and in 1952 with Ole Jensen in mixed doubles.
She obtained three Danish Championships – two in singles and one in women’s doubles. She played on the national team until the mid 1950s.
Børge Frederiksen won the All England Championship in men’s doubles in 1948 with Preben Dabelsteen. In 1950 he reached the final with Poul Holm.
Børge Frederiksen has two Danish Championship titles in doubles – in 1943 with Jesper Bie and in 1949 with Tage Madsen.
He played on the national team until the beginning of the 1950s.
Jørn Skaarup won the All England title in all three categories, the men’s singles and mixed doubles in 1948 and men’s doubles in 1950. The doubles titles were with Preben Dabelsteen and Kirsten Thorndahl respectively. Moreover, he was in two finals, in mixed doubles in 1950 with Gitte Rostgaard Frøhne and in men’s doubles in 1947 with Dabelsteen.
Jørn Skaarup was a Danish Champion four times in men’s singles. The last time in 1954, when he managed to defeat the big talent Finn Kobberø in a match where Skaarup showed everybody his fighter instincts.
He won five Danish Championships in men’s doubles and two in mixed doubles. Jørn Skaarup played 29 national matches from 1946-1956.
Kirsten Thorndahl (later Granlund) was in the final at All England 17 times but she “only” won 11 times – one time less than Tonny Ahm, who reached the final 15 times.
Kirsten Thorndahl became champion in women’s single in 1948 and was also a finalist in 1947. Five titles were obtained in women’s doubles, four with Tonny Ahm and one with Anni Hammergaard Hansen. Ad to this five championships in mixed doubles, one with Jørn Skaarup and four with Finn Koberø. She thus succeeded in becoming triple champion in 1948 – the year that Denmark won all five titles.
Kirsten played on the national team 34 times from 1946-1963. She also joined the Uber Cup team, which reached the finals in both 1957 and 1966. 40 years passed before Denmark reached another Uber Cup final.
Preben Dabelsteen won his first All England Championship in 1948 with Børge Frederiksen.
He had already reached the final in 1947 but lost to Poul Holm/Tage Madsen with Jørn Skaarup by his side. They did, however, win the Championship in 1950.
With the same partner he won five Danish Championships. He played on the national team until the mid 50’s.
Agnete Friis (married name Varn) reached the final in all three categories at All England without, however, winning any of them.
In 1953 she lost the singles final to Marie Ussing. That same year the two of them lost the final to Iris Cooly and June White, Britain.
In the third final, mixed doubles with Poul Holm, they were defeated by Eddy Chong and June White.
Agnete Friis became Danish Champion in women’s singles in 1941 and 1944 and nine times in women’s doubles from 1941 to 1958.
She played for the national team until the end of the 50’s.
JØRGEN HAMMERGAARD HANSEN
For many years Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen constituted the world’s best men’s doubles with his partner Finn Kobberø.
He reached the All England-finals 12 times and won half of them with Kobberø in the years 1955 and 1956 and four years in a row from 1961 to 1964. He lost the final in men’s doubles three times, in 1958 to Erland Kops/Poul-Erik Nielsen with Kobberø, in 1960 with Henning Borch to Lim Say Hup/Teh Kew San, Malaya and in 1966 with Finn Kobberø. They lost to Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan.
Despite the fact that he was a finalist three times, Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen never won a mixed doubles final at All England. He lost the final twice with Anni H.H. and once in 1959 with Kirsten Thorndahl.
He won seven Danish doubles championships with Finn Kobberø and once in mixed doubles with Anni H.H. Hammergaard never won a Danish Championship in singles, but he did win twice as a youth player, in 1946 in the Under16 category and in 1949 in the Under18 category.
Besides the many national and international results, Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen is known as the first Danish player to use a backhand smash with great force.
Jørgen played 45 matches for the national team from 1951-1966.
In 1962 Tonny Holst- Christensen won the All England championship when she teamed up with American Judy Devlin and won hands down against Karin Jørgensen and Ulla Rasmussen from Denmark.
The Badminton Association of Denmark had actually decided not to enter Tonny in the tournament on their behalf, and she remarkably paid for the trip to England out of her own pocket.
She won the National Championship in ladies’ singles in 1956 and 1960, and was also part of the women’s Uber Cup team when they reached the final in 1966.
It would be 40 years before Denmark made it to the final again. Tonny played for Denmark in the 1950s and 1960s.
ANNI HAMMERGAARD HANSEN
Anni Hammergaard Hansen (born Jørgensen) won All England in women’s doubles in1957 with Kirsten Thorndahl, and she was also in two mixed doubles finals, both with Jørgen H.H. in 1956 and 1957.
They lost to Finn Kobberø/Kirsten Thorndahl in 1957 and the year before to Anthony Jordan/June Timperley, Britain.
Anni has four Danish Championships, two in women’s doubles with Aase Winther and Kirsten Thorndahl, plus two in mixed doubles with Jørgen H.H. and ]ørn Skaarup.
Anni was also one of the girls on the Uber Cup team, when the girls reached the final in 1957 for the first time. She played on the national team in the 1950s
Contrary to his younger brother, Knud Aage Nielsen, Poul-Erik Nielsen was a doubles specialist, winning three All England titles in doubles.
Poul-Erik won his first men’s doubles title in 1958 with Erland Kops, his second one in 1960 with Finn Kobberø and one mixed double championship with Inge Birgit Anker Hansen in 1959. He also made his way to the final in five other occasions from 1956 to 1964, having to make due with silver medals.
Poul-Erik also became national champion once in men’s doubles with Erland Kops, and three times in mixed doubles, twice with his All England partner Birgit, and once with Kirsten Thorndahl.
Finally he managed to win the Nordic Championship twice in mixed doubles, and played 33 matches for Denmark from 1954 to 1964.
INGE BIRGIT ANKER HANSEN
Inge Birgit Anker Hansen won the All England title in mixed doubles in 1959 with med Poul-Erik Nielsen.
They also became Danish Champions in mixed doubles in 1959 and 1961, and Inge Birgit also won the Danish Championships in 1956 and 1960 in women’s doubles with Aase Winther and in 1954 in mixed doubles with Finn Kobberø.
She also reached the final at the All England Championships in women’s doubles in 1960 with Kirsten Thorndahl, but lost to the sisters Judy and Susan Devlin, USA.
She played for the national team in the 1950’s.
Many people consider Finn Kobberø to be the greatest men’s doubles and mixed doubles player ever. Kobberø is that Danish player who has won most titles in the world’s then most prestigious tournament, All England. 15 championships, seven in men’s doubles and eight in mixed doubles.
These victories have been won with four different partners. Six men’s doubles championships with Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen and one with Poul-Erik Nielsen in 1960. Kobberø became a champion four times in mixed doubles with Kirsten Thorndahl and four times with Ulla Strand.
Finn Kobberø was Danish Champion in men’s singles four times but despite the fact that he was often seeded no. one, he never won the All England title in singles. He reached the finals three times but lost twice to Erland Kops and once to Eddy Choong, Malaya. Kobberø has also lost the final five times in doubles. Twice in men’s doubles in 1959 and 1966 with Jørgen Hammergaard.
In mixed doubles he was defeated in the final in 1954 with Inge Birgit Anker Hansen, in 1958 with Aase Winther and in 1964 with Ulla Rasmussen.
Kobberø is that male player, who has won most titles in Denmark. To the many All England titles can be added 22 Danish Championships – four in men’s singles, nine in men’s doubles (seven with Jørgen Hammergaard and two with Bent Albertsen) and nine in mixed doubles (one with Inge Birgit Anker Hansen, three with Ulla Strand, two with Kirsten Thorndahl, two with Lis Hagen Olsen and one with Anne Flindt). Finn Kobberø was also Nordic Champion in mixed doubles in 1964 with Ulla Strand.
Finn Kobberø played 42 national matches for Denmark from 1953-1966
Next after Tonny Ahm, Ulla Strand is the Danish female player who has won the most championships.
She reached the finals at All England 15 times and was able to get her hands on the trophy ten times. One of the few times she was not able to take home the trophy was when she played Ursula Smith, England, in the final in 1965.
She also won seven championships in mixed doubles and three in women’s doubles during her All England reign.
This player did well both nationally and international, which she proved by winning the National Championship three times in women’s singles, ten times in women’s doubles and eight times in mixed doubles.
Furthermore she took home the Nordic Championship as many as 19 times, with four championships in singles, six in women’s doubles and nine in mixed doubles.
Throughout the period 1961 to 1975, Ulla Strand played 34 matches for Denmark.
Karin Jørgensen one half of “the sisters” Rasmussen, won the All England title twice in women’s doubles with. This was in 1964 and 1965 but three times Judy Hashman “got in the way” in the final. ln 1962 in their first final, the sisters played against the American girl and Tonny Holst-Christensen, and in 1963 and 1966 it was with Susan Devlin Peard.
Karin Jørgensen was a Danish Champion nine times, once in women’s singles and eight times in doubles, seven times with Ulla and once with Lizbeth von Barnekow.
She was also Nordic Champion once in singles and four times in doubles. Karin played for the national team 28 times from 1961-1972.
KNUD AAGE NIELSEN
Knud Aage Nielsen reached the final at All England only once. This was in the men’s singles final in 1964, and in a well-played match he defeated Henning Borch in three sets.
He became Danish Champion in men’s singles in 1959 and in 1962 and 1963 and he became Nordic Champion in men’s singles. He never won a Danish Championship in men’s doubles but he did get a Nordic title with Henning Borch.
Knud Aage Nielsen will always be known as the “Green pea”. Played for the national team in the 1960’s.
After two failed attempts in 1966 and 1967, Pernille Kaagaard (formerly Mølgaard Hansen) won the mixed doubles championship at All England in 1970 with Per Walsøe.
In 1964 Pernille had also taken home two singles titles, one at the National Under-18 Championship, and yet another title at the National Championship.
Pernille won an additional two National Championships in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles and played 34 matches for Denmark from 1965 to 1977.
Per Walsøe fought in vain to become an All England Champion in mixed doubles in 1966 and 1967 with Pernille Mølgaard Hansen, but in 1970 they finally succeeded. Per Walsøe was also a finalist in men’s doubles in 1967 with Svend Andersen. He became the first Danish European Champion winning the final in men’s doubles with Elo Hansen.
Walsøe has won six Danish Championships, three in men’s doubles and three in mixed doubles. In this way, he reached the final in mixed doubles six years in a row from 1966-1971. He was also a Nordic Champion in men’s doubles in 1968-70 with Svend Pri and Nordic Champion in mixed doubles three times. Per Walsøe played for the national team in the 1960s.
Svend Pri won his first national championship in 1966 but had to wait nearly a decade before rising all the way to the top in All England.
Among others, the sensational Indonesian Rudy Hartono did his very best to stop Svend from reaching all the way. But finally, on 22 March 1975, Svend succeeded in breaking Hartono’s amazing All England reign.
Svend had to go through an emotional rollercoaster before enjoying the tribute at Empire Pool.
Here’s what Svend himself experienced: “If you can stay as cool and calm on court as you are right now, you can beat Hartono and win the title”. Those are the words I said to myself, as I was nearing the end of my warm up program preceding the men’s singles final. I really felt up to the task and even though I could feel a couple of butterflies fluttering around ever so slowly in my stomach as we entered the arena, I felt completely relaxed. Things were still going as planned in the beginning of the match, but apparently I had to experience the entire range of emotions before the match ended. “This is it”, I thought to myself, as I had taken the lead 12 against 8 in the second set after having won the first set by 15 against 11. But off course, it wasn’t! Mainly because of my own unforced errors, he took four really fast points and evened out the score at 12-12. I kept telling myself “you have to do it – in a potential third set you only have about a 20 percent chance of winning”.
“He continued and made his way to 14-12, one measly point away from sending the match into a third set, and I could feel my throat starting to tighten up. So close, but yet so far. I had attempted to break his serve by rushing to the net and returning the shuttle straight towards his body. That approach failed four times! Then I took a huge risk by suddenly making a flat return to his strong backhand, and it worked. Once again, I had the serve. Looking back, I think this was the moment when Hartono’s game broke down, because the next two points were surprisingly easy for me to win. Once again, I was in control and when he requested setting the match to 17 points he looked as if he didn’t have much faith in his own game anymore. He appeared tired and disheartened and when I finally was able to take home the third set, I was in absolute heaven. The dream I had fought for, ever since my first All England final in 1970, was finally coming through, Svend recounts”.
However, this was not Svend’s first All England championship. The first time he got his hands on an All England trophy was in 1967 in mixed doubles with Danish Ulla Strand and they repeated their victory in both 1971 and 1972. Furthermore, he came in second as many as four times, twice in men’s singles, where he lost to Hartono, and twice in men’s doubles.
Svend also won eight National Championships in men’s singles, five in men’s doubles and four in mixed doubles – all together, he took home the trophy 17 times. He also won the Nordic Championship four times in men’s singles, six in men’s doubles and once in mixed doubles.
Svend played 45 matches for Denmark from 1964 to 1979.
Erland Kops set an amazing record in 1967 when he won the All England Championship in men’s singles for the seventh time. Frank Devlin, Ireand, had six titles and when Erland beat this record, no one thought that it would ever be erased.
The first championship was obtained in 1958, the year after he had lost the final to Eddie B. Choong, Malaya. In 1958 Kops played against Finn Kobberø in the final. After the malay Tanjoe Hock won the title in 1959, Erland Kops won four times in a row. He didn’t get far in the 1964 tournament but won again in 1965 and in 1967 for the seventh time.
Erland Kops also won the title in men’s doubles – with Poul-Erik Nielsen in 1958 and with Henning Borch in 1967-69. Kops lost three finals in men’s doubles – in 1961 and 1964 with Poul-Erik Nielsen to Hammergaard/Kobberø, and in 1965 with the malay Oon Choong Jin to Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan.
He “only” succeeded in winning five Danish Championships in men’s singles and four championships in men’s doubles. He was Nordic Champion in men’s singles five times, three times in men’s doubles and twice in mixed doubles. Kops played 44 national matches for Denmark from 1957-1972.
Henning Borch is one of the six players who won a cup from All England that he could keep. This was made possible with three victories in men’s doubles in a row in the years 1967, 1968 and 1969 with Erland Kops. They defeated Svend Andersen/Per Walsøe in 1967, legendary Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan (Malaysia) the year after and in 1969 they beat David Eddy/R.A. Poweil.
Henning Borch also reached the final in 1959 with Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen but lost to the Malays Lim Say Hup/Teh Kew San. In 1964 Henning Borch also reached the final in men’s singles. The trump card from Denmark – Erland Kops – was out of the way in this tournament but it was still an all-Danish final between Knud Aage Nielsen and Henning Borch. “Pytte”, as Borch was called, lost the draw in a well-played and long match. He won the first set 15-8 but lost the next two sets 14-17, 4-15.
Henning Borch became Danish Champion in singles in 1963, in men’s doubles in 1967 with Jørgen Mortensen and in 1968 and 1969 with Erland Kops.
He also has four Nordic Championships, in 1963 in men’s doubles with Knud Aage Nielsen, in 1966 and 1967 with Erland Kops and in 1963 in mixed doubles with Ulla Rasmussen (later Strand).
Henning played for the national team 42 times from 1958-1973.
Normally, a badminton player wins the National Championship before entering the international scene. However, this was not the case with Poul Petersen, who won the All England championship in men’s doubles with Tom Bacher in 1970 before he was able to call himself national champion.
He won his first National Championship in men’s doubles in 1972 with Per Walsøe and then repeated the victory in both 1973 and 1974 with Svend Pri.
In addition, Tom and Poul won the Nordic Championship in 1972. Poul played for Denmark in the beginning of the 1970s.
Even though Tom Bacher never was able to call himself national champion, he won a great victory when he won the All England men’s doubles with Poul Petersen on 21 March 1970.
Sensationally, the Danes took down the English pair Ray Sharp and Poul Whetnall, winning 15-3 15-6, on their way to the final. The Danes continued on and won the final hands down, defeating David Eddy and R.A. Poweil from England, 15-11 15-0.
As the result indicates, the Danes where unstoppable in the second set, where Poul Petersen controlled the net with his aggressive play while Tom Bacher controlled the game from the back.
Tom played for Denmark from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s.
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.
Steen Skovgaard is definitely one of the best doubles players in the history of Danish badminton, but he had great difficulty making it all the way to the international top level.
At times, his game appeared somewhat inconsistent; mixing brilliant winners with a lot of unforced errors.
In 1977 he celebrated the greatest victory of his career by winning the World Championship in mixed doubles with Danish Lene Køppen. Throughout the final Steen played his usual game, shifting from greatness to hopelessness, but the pair pulled trough and won the match 15/12, 18/17. As the result indicates, it was a tight match where their opponents were convinced they lost the first set due to a wrong call from one of the linesmen, and after a heated discussion the head judge actually decided to replace the linesman.
The year before, Steen had made it to the final in men’s doubles with Svend Pri and in 1978 he and Lene attempted to hold on to the title in the mixed doubles final. Unfortunately he had to make due with a silver medal both times.
In addition to his All England triumph, Steen won the Nordic Championship once in men’s doubles and six times in mixed doubles with Lene.
Furthermore he became national champion twice in men’s doubles and as many as five times in a row in mixed doubles. Steen played 38 matches for Denmark from 1973 to 1983.
Pia Nielsen stepped onto the international badminton scene at a very young age, as she became the champion in women’s singles at the European Youth Championship in 1975.
In 1983 the World Championship was held in Denmark, and it was at this occasion that Pia Nielsen and Steen Fladberg made it all the way to the final, and even though they had to make due with a silver medal it was the greatest achievement of Pia’s career.
Back in 1978 Pia had also won the National Championship in women’s doubles with Inge Borgstrom, and prior to the World Championship she and Steen Fladberg also won the mixed doubles title at the National Championship for amateurs.
Furthermore, Pia took home the Nordic Championship in women’s doubles with Lene Køppen as many as three times from 1976 to 1981.
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.
Morten Frost is probably the greatest player ever in recent badminton history. He was famous for being able to adapt his play to his opponent.
Morten has won practically everything worth winning except a World Championship. He reached the final twice but lost both times in 1985 and 1987. At the World Championships in Calgary in 1985 all Danes watched nervously when Morten lost his 8-3 lead in the third set as Han Jian got 12 points in a row and won the final. It was a real thriller of a match that many people remember.
At the World Championship in Beijing in 1987 the headlines read “He failed again” and “The world’s greatest badminton player is not likely ever to become World Champion”. Morten Frost said: “The draft in the huge hall with 16.000 spectators was, as it is when it is worst at All England in the Wembley Arena, and one could feel it in all 251 WC-matches. There was a “right” side and a “wrong” side, and in those matches with almost equal opponents, the winner was the one who after three sets finished on the “right” side”.
The Chinese started on the “right” side, and Frost was literally blown out. He only got two points. In the second set, Frost’s eminent defensive took over. Yang continued his fine and aggressive play but the more strokes Morten returned, the more tired the Chinese became. For the first time in the match, Morten took the lead with 11-10 and finished the set 15-13, as Yang declined from a setting to 17. Then disaster came – Yang started on the “right side” again, and everybody prayed that Morten would manage to get just four or five points before they had to change sides, but no! Despite an enormous use of strength in the first two sets, Yang still found the energy to get eight points to zero before he had to play on the “wrong” side, from where he changed the score to 10-1.
Even though it looked that way, Frost hadn’t given up. He too had an unused storage of strength left and he slowly climbed to 13-12, but then disaster stroke again. A stroke from Yang was obviously out but the line judge saw it differently and the score was now 14-12. If Frost had gotten the serve, as he should have, it would probably have been 13-13 instead, and the match would still have been open. Now Frost sent the last stroke of the match out and the Chinese won the match 15-2, 13-15, 15-12. In such an intense and long WC-final of 83 minutes, it is impossible to avoid errors from the line judges but as a Dane it is hard not to be affected by the fact that they were all to Frost’s disadvantage. It is very frustrating when an error occurs at such a time that one cannot help but think that it settled the match.
Morten has always triumphed at All England and he became champion in men’s singles in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987 and no. 2 in 1989.
He is a Nordic Champion in singles in 1978-1984 and again in 1988, and in men’s doubles with Steen Fladberg from 1980-1982 and in 1986.
Morten Frost also became a European Champion in men’s singles in 1984 and 1986. Furthermore, Morten has won all the major Grand Prix tournaments, e.g. Danish Open from 1980-1986 and in 1989. Morten Frost holds the record of matches for the national team with 78 in the years 1976-1991.
From 1979 to 1987 Steen Fladberg won the National Championship in mixed doubles and men’s doubles teaming up with, amongst others, Morten Frost and Jan Paulsen.
Strangely, Steen and Jesper Helledie never got their hands on the men’s doubles trophy as a pair. Instead, they won the World Championship!
The World Championship in 1983 in Denmark was by far the highlight of Steen’s career, when he and Jesper took home the trophy against Mike Tredgett and Martin Dew with 15-10 15-10. On their way to the final the pair had defeated the bottom seed Chinese pair Sun Zhian and Yao Ximing as comfortably as 15-8 15-4.
At the same occasion Steen also made his way to the mixed doubles final, where he had to make due with a silver medal. This fantastic doubles player also gave Denmark some great moments in the European Championships, where he once again teamed up with Jesper Helledie in 1986 and won the men’s doubles, and the mixed doubles in 1987 teaming up with Gillian Clark from England.
Finally, Steen became Nordic Champion as many as five times and played 56 matches for Denmark from 1977 to 1989.
Jesper Helledie was one half of the great World Championship success at the first World Championships in Denmark in 1983, where he won in men’s doubles with Steen Fladberg.
Jesper Helledie started early by winning the European Championships for youth players in 1973 and then ten years passed before he won again at the World Championships.
Jesper has never been “a true” Danish Champion as a senior but he won the Danish Championships for amateurs in 1979/1980 in both mixed doubles and men’s doubles with Inge Borgström and Jan Hammergaard Hansen respectively.
Jesper played for the national team 46 times from 1974-1986.
Kirsten Larsen won the All England final in 1987 in singles. It is the biggest title that Kirsten ever won. She was also Danish Champion in singles from 1981-1983 and again from 1986-1988 and she was called Lene Køppen’s successor.
Kirsten won the European Championships in singles in 1988 and became second in 1986. She also became Nordic Champion in singles in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988.
Kirsten Larsen played for the national team 58 times from 1979-1990.
Ib Frederiksen surprised everybody when he won All England in men’s singles in 1988, where he beat both Jens Peter Nierhoff in the semi-final and Morten Frost in the final with 8/15-15/7-15/10.
In 1985 Ib won the Nordic Championships in men’s singles, and to that can be added three Danish Championship titles, one in mixed doubles and two in men’s singles.
Ib played for the national team 29 times from 1983-1992.
Every decade the Danish badminton scene has its special star in men’s singles, and Poul-Erik Høyer was a worthy successor after Morten Frost in the 1990s, both when it came to results and being the absolute gentleman of the game. It wasn’t until relatively late in his career that Poul-Erik started getting the victories that place him among the biggest names in international badminton.
Earlier on, Poul-Erik used to be an uncompromising and aggressive player, but both his patience and the mastery of his game grew in time, as he became able to control his opponent and the matches by masking his game. Poul-Erik was probably the best player at the net, where he played with complete respectfulness, just as he often got himself out of some pretty hopeless situations after being far behind.
Poul-Erik Høyer won the National Championship in men’s singles in 1989, 1995, 1996 and 1998, as well as winning the singles title in Danish Open in 1988, 1990, 1993 to 1995 and finally in 1999. Undoubtedly, among the greatest victories of his career were his two All England singles titles and his Olympic gold medal. Many of us probably still remember when he, overcome with joy, ripped apart his T-shirt at the Olympics in 1996 after winning the men’s singles final.
Camilla Martin was undeniably Denmark’s number one in singles for more than ten years. 13 Danish Championships in a row from 1990 to 2003 speaks for itself.
Camilla was very straight-forward and easy-going. But she could also be quite strict and she didn’t let anybody tell her what to do.
When she lost in the quarter final at the World Championships in Scotland in ’97, she seriously reconsidered her career but fortunately she decided to continue to play badminton. This led her to several victories where she has defeated all the best players in the world.
She went all the way to the top when she became a World Champion in 1999 in Copenhagen. Her status as one of the world’s best players was once again stressed at the Olympic Games in Sydney. According to then national coach, Kenneth Larsen, she played her best tournament ever and won a Silver medal. Camilla had a very confident style with many hard clears and concealed drops; especially the one from her backhand corner was often a winner.
Her last Olympic Games were a disappointment and she lost to the British player, Tracy Hallam, in the second round. Camilla usually never lost to European players and she has characterized the match in Athens as one of the worst of her carrier.
She ended a brilliant carrier at the home tournament in Aarhus, Denmark Open 2004, where she reached the semi-finals and got a standing ovation from the audience as they said good bye. She won Denmark Open six times from 1994-1999 and in 2001 and 2002. Other victories include a Silver medal at All England in 1995 and Gold at the same tournament in 2002. She became European Champion in 1996, 1998 and 2000 and she also won Copenhagen Masters five times, the last time in 2001.
Her many victories and good looks made her an idol among thousands of young badminton players. She appeared on various TV-shows and was often interviewed in magazines. Camilla Martin therefore was one of – if not the – best known female athlete of her time.
Grete Kragekjær (previously Mogensen) won the Gold medal with Jon Holst-Christensen in mixed doubles at the European Championships in 1990, the same year as they became Danish Champions.
In 1993 they won the All England title. They also won a Bronze medal at the World Championships in 1991 and lost the final in 1993.
Grete won the Danish Championships in Women’s doubles both in 1992 and 1993, and in 1991 she became Danish Champion in mixed doubles with Holst-Christensen.
She played 47 matches for the Danish national team between 1983-1993.
For many years Pernille Dupont constituted one of the world’s best mixed doubles with her partner Thomas Lund, which resulted in some of her greatest victories; finalist at the World Championship in Denmark in 1991, All England champion in 1992, national and Nordic champion in 1989, as well at bringing home the trophy at the Grand Prix finals from 1990 to 1992.
The pair also won a vast number of big international tournaments, such as the Danish Open in 1990 and 1991.
Finally, Pernille and her partner in women’s doubles, Grete Mogensen, became known as the “third runners-up”. Pernille played for Denmark from the end 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s.
Thomas Lund is probably the best doubles player Denmark has ever seen.
In the beginning of the 1990s Thomas won basically every championship there was to win. During the period 1991 to 1996 he won six National Championships in men’s doubles with Jon Holst-Christensen, as well as two in mixed doubles with two different partners.
He walked off with a great number of international championships, such as the Nordic Championship, the European Championship and a number of international Grand Prix tournaments such as the Danish Open, where he accumulated eight titles in the doubles categories.
In 1992 Thomas took home his first trophy from All England in mixed doubles teaming up with Pernille Dupont, and later on he added two All England mixed doubles championships to his collecting, this time with Marlene Thomsen.
In 1993 he and Jon secured Denmark yet another All England title in men’s doubles while loosing the semi-final in mixed doubles with C. Bengtsson from Sweden. However, teaming up with Bengtsson proved to be a very good idea when the pair actually won the World Championship in 1993.
Back in 1991 Thomas had already reached the final in both doubles categories, but it was not until 1993 that all his hard work paid off and he was able to get his hands on the mixed doubles trophy.
At the World Championship in 1995 he had a new partner in Marlene Thomsen, but the title stayed with Thomas. This means that Thomas is the first Dane to win a World Championship title twice, and even better, he won them in a row.
Furthermore, Thomas was the king of the Grand Prix finals in mixed doubles from 1990 to 1994, where he won the first three with Pernille Dupont, the fourth with C. Bengtsson and the fifth with Marlene Thomsen. He played 41 matches for Denmark from 1987 to 1997.
One of the biggest personalities in Danish sports with an amazing radiance on the court. The little terrier simply never gave up and he could really excite the spectators.
Jon’s partnership in men’s doubles with Thomas Lund was legendary. Later on he formed a partnership with Ann Jørgensen in mixed doubles, and with her he tried to fulfil his dream of becomming a World Champion – but he never succeeded. Jon was famous for his hop smash and drawn hop drop and for an amazing defensive where “impossible” strokes was saved.
With Thomas Lund as his partner he won the men’s doubles at Danish Open in 1992, ’93, ’95 and ’97. And three times he reached the finals at the World Championships also with Thomas Lund.
In 1993 he won the All England final. With Ann Jørgensen he won, among many other titles, a Silver medal at the European Championships in 1998.
When she was in her mid-twenties, Rikke Olsen was already considered to be an experienced player at the international level. Ever since she won the World Championships for Under16 in 1992 in mixed doubles with Jim Laugesen, and the European Championships for Under16 in women’s doubles with Mette Sørensen, she was headed straight for the top.
She grew up in a real badminton-family, where all of her three sisters also played. However, it was only her big sister Lotte, who made it as far as Rikke.
Jim Laugesen was not the only mixed doubles-partner with whom Rikke obtained big results, as her and Michael Søgaard won so many titles. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, the couple came close to bringing home the coveted medal to Denmark, but unfortunately they finished as number four.
To mention a few of the many titles, the couple won four Danish Championships in a row from 1998 to 2002, and two Gold medals at Danish Open in 1996 and 2000, two Silver medals at the All England in 1998 and 2001, and they also won the final at the Nordic Championships in 1995. Rikke show her broad range by winning two more Danish Championship titles with Jon Holst-Christensen in 1994 and 1995.
Most people probably remember Rikke’s many triumphs in women’s doubles, most of all her partnership with Helene Kirkegaard. With Helene, Rikke won the Danish Championships three times in 1995, 2000 and 2001, Danish Open/Denmark Open in 1996 and 2001 and they also reached the final at All England in 1996.
Just like in mixed doubles, Rikke also won titles with another partner, Marlene Thomsen, e.g. the Danish Championships in 1997 and 1998. As a player Rikke was very determined and constantly developed her play by learning new details. In women’s doubles you often saw Rikke control the play from the backline, but she also took up the challenge at the net.
Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen is the first Danish badminton player to have won a medal at the Olympics, when he took third place in 1992 in Barcelona.
On his way to the semi-finals he quickly got the attention from the entire Danish badminton nation by defeating two seeded players, Liu Jun and Rashid Sidek.
He became known as “the fighter” from Denmark, but unfortunately his opponent in the semi-final, the Indonesian Budi Kusuma (to some known as the human wall) broke Thomas’ winning streak in a very equal match.
Besides the Olympic bronze medal Thomas has won the National Championship in men’s singles three times from 1992 to 1994 and the Nordic Championship in men’s doubles in 1991 and men’s singles in 1992 and 1995.
He played 28 matches for Denmark from 1992 to 1998.
MARTIN LUNDGAARD HANSEN
Martin Lundgaard Hansen was born on 11 October 1972, and he is one of the best men’s doubles players, who represented Denmark between 2000 and 2010.
Lundgaard started as men’s singles and in 1993 he was selected to play the World Championships in Birmingham. The management of Badminton Denmark selected three talents, who should go to the tournament, and together with Kenneth Jonassen and Peter Rasmussen Lundgaard went to England.
But as the years went by, it became clear that Lundgaard should try his talent in the men’s doubles, and it was the right choice. Together with Jens Eriksen Lundgaard got great success on the international men’s doubles scene.
Martin Lundgaard managed to participate in three Olympic Championships (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing in 2008), and together with Eriksen he finished fourth in 2004.
Lundgaard played at the beginning of his men’s doubles career with Lars Paaske, with who he won the Danish Open in 1999, but the great triumphs came with Jens Eriksen.
The career highlights for Martin Lundgaard was when he with Eriksen in 2004 and 2006 won the All England men’s doubles. The couple was at the time a half years as no.1 in the world.
Together they won also among gold at the European Championships, a number of Danish championships and a victory in the China Masters.
Between the rallies Michael Søgaard sometimes looked very relaxed, and he might seem as if he felt the match was too easy – but one shouldn’t be fooled by that. It was just his style and suddenly, when the game started again, he was like a jack in the box and then he played badminton like you had never seen it before.
Søgaard was a fighter and he had a huge talent. Søgaard was relatively old when he made it to the highest international level but then he managed to stay at the top in both men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Michael was very fast and was blessed with a very good foot-work, which made him capable of returning the most “impossible” strokes. He used his fastness to maintain his attacks from the backline, and he also had a good eye for the net play – he liked to take chances when he moved forward on the court.
Among the many titles are e.g. Danish Championships in men’s doubles in 1994, 1997-1998 and 2000, plus three victories in mixed doubles with Rikke Olsen in 1999, 2001 and 2002. With Rikke Olsen he also won Denmark Open in 2000, and with Jon Holst-Christensen as his partner he won a Gold medal in men’s doubles at the same tournament.
Søgaard became European Champion twice, and in 1998 and 2001 he made it to the finals at The All England Championships. Søgaard was no. four at the Olympic Games in 2000 in mixed doubles with Rikke Olsen.
Jens Eriksen was born on 30 December 1969. Eriksen has played badminton for 30 years and has over two decades been at the international top of badminton in the doubles categories.
His first big result at an international championship was the silver medal, which he won at the World Championships 1995 with Helene Kirkegaard in the mixeddoubles. Two years later, he did it again, when he and Malene Thomsen won the silver medals at the World Championships in Glasgow.
Through his career Eriksen showed that he was a true doubles specialist, and in mixed doubles, he won even more titles when he played alongside Mette Schjoldager. The two Danes won the bronze at the World Championships in 2011, and at the Olympics in Athens 2004, they took the bronze medal.
But it was not only with a female partner, Eriksen was on top when it came to badminton. Alongside with Martin Lundgaard he did very well, and they won the European Championships in 2004 in the men’s doubles. But the biggest triumph for Lundgaard and Eriksen have to be found on the other side of the “Channel”.
Lundgaard and Eriksen won the world’s most traditional badminton tournament, the All England, in 2004 and 2006.
Besides the impressive victories, Jens Eriksen competed at four Olympic Championships: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
Off the court Marlene Thomsen is quiet and friendly. But on court she is explosive and temperamental. And this gave Marlene a fine badminton career.
With her partner and boyfriend (now husband), Thomas Lund, she managed to stay undefeated in mixed doubles with victories at the World Championships and the Grand Prix finals as the highlights.
With her new partner, Jens Eriksen, she reached the finals at the World Championships in Glasgow. In women’s doubles she played with Anne-Mette Bille, but from ’95 to ’97 her partner was Lisbet Stuer-Lauridsen and they won the European Championships among other titles.
From 1998 “Malle” played with Rikke Olsen and their goal was to win the Gold medal in women’s doubles at the World Championships in Copenhagen in 1999 – but they didn’t succeed.
Marlene was very strong mentally. She had a great will to win every time she stepped onto the court. Marlene’s eye for the play was perhaps her strongest point, especially when she moved towards the net from the backline. She was also very strong defensively.
You can reach the top if you work hard. It’s not just a cliché. Just ask Kenneth Jonassen.
The former men’s singles showed throughout his career that when you work hard at the training, you can also reach the international top and have a life in the sport of badminton when the career is over.
From the mid-1990s Kenneth Jonassen was part of the Danish national team, and together with, among others, Peter Gade, Poul-Erik Høyer and Peter Rasmussen Jonassen maked Danish men’s singles some of the world’s best.
In 1996 Jonassen took his first title when he won the Austrian International, and in 1998 Jonassen seriously showed that he was a player who you could count on. Jonassen took the silver medal at the European Championships, while Peter Gade won the gold, and Peter Rasmussen and Poul-Erik Høyer won the bronze.
Four times Jonassen won the silver at the Europeans, and in 2008, he could call himself a European Champion. A title he won in his home town Herning.
Jonassen was also successful in Asia. In 2003 the men’s singles profile won Korea Open, and in 2004 he took the title in Singapore. And Jonassen was throughout his career often among the last players in the tournament, and on several occasions, Jonassen has been number two in the world.
The former men’s singles profile won the Danish nationals in 2004 and 2008 before his career ended in December 2008 at the Copenhagen Masters.
After the retirement Kenneth Jonassen started coaching the Danish national players at the national training, and from summer 2010 Jonassen had the responsibility of the UK singles players.
Peter Rasmussen is a former World Champion in men’s singles – and yet he is very modest. He is not the type to brag or show off. Rasmussen let his racket speak for him and he did it so well that he won the World Championships in 1997 in Scotland after a memorable and dramatic final against China’s Sun Jun.
In the following years, Peter Rasmussen was almost constantly unable to play due to injuries and he played very few tournaments after 1997. But in 2002 he made his comeback at the Danish Championships and that same year he became European Champion by defeating Kenneth Jonassen in the final.
Rasmussen was always very goal-oriented and structured, he kept a training diary, and when he was very young he hired a Chinese coach. He has been called “the white Chinese” due to his Chinese-inspired style with hop smashes and powerful foot work.
Peter used many concealed strokes and was very good at the net. Among other titles he won two Danish Championships in men’s singles in 1997 and 1999, and in 1995 he reached the final in Danish Open, as it was called back then.
Joachim Fischer is primarily a double player, who from 2008 onwards, paired with Christinna Pedersen in mixed doubles.
Together they have achieved a large number of great results. At the 2012 London Olympics, the pair won bronze, which is perhaps their biggest achievement. They also won the World Cup bronze in 2009 and in Ballerup 2014.
The couple have won 13 Superseries tournaments, including three Masters Finals (2009, 2012 and 2013), four Denmark Open (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2016) and several tournaments in the Far East. In addition, Fischer and Pedersen have reached ten Superseries finals, where they have lost.
Fischer is known for his winning mentality and his loud shouting.
The Danish all star, Peter Gade, is, and will always be, remembered for his many contributions to Danish and international badminton through more than a decade and a half.
Peter Gade, who was born on the 14th of December 1976 in Aalborg in Northern Jutland, has an incredible list of results and triumphs attached to his career, which has seen him rank as the world’s best for a period of three years, from 1998 to 2001.
Back in 1999, at age 22, he won the All England for the first and only time in his career. Besides of that title, he has 23 other Super Series/Grand Prix-titles to boast of, including gold medals from Korea Open, Denmark Open and Japan Open.
Gade has won the Denmark Open three time, in 1998, 2000 and 2008. Two other Danish tournaments have also seen Gade rise as champion more than one time, namely The Danish National Championships and the Yonex Copenhagen Masters, which are tournaments that Gade has won ten times each.
Peter Gade has not only been a success on the green court. Also in a more entrepreneurial way, he has been a front figure for many years. His dedication to the sport has resulted in the development of several promotional activites all around the world, which is something Gade also will be remembered for besides of his personal achievements in the sport.
KAMILLA RYTTER JUHL
Rytter Juhl played as a left-handed doubles specialist.
Juhl enjoyed a successful mixed doubles career with Thomas Laybourn, winning the 2009 BWF World Championships and two European titles in 2006 and 2010. The pair also won the BWF World Superseries Finals in 2008, and won a total of two Superseries titles.
After Laybourn’s retirement, Rytter Juhl played mixed doubles with Mads Pieler Kolding, and the pair came runner-up in the 2014 European Championships, losing out to their Danish teammates Christinna Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen in the final.
In the women’s doubles, Juhl initially partnered with Lena Frier Kristiansen, and the pair reached 8th on the world rankings, won a bronze and a gold medal at the European Championships, and reached the World Superseries Finals in 2009.
From 2010 to 2018, Rytter Juhl was paired with Christinna Pedersen. While both athletes also focussed on competing with their respective partners in mixed doubles, in 2016 Juhl changed to competing exclusively in women’s doubles. The pair won a silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, and a bronze medal at the 2013 Guangzhou World Championship and at the 2017 BWF World Championships.
Rytter Juhl and Pedersen won a total of four European women’s doubles titles, one World Superseries Final and five Superseries titles, and had a career highest world ranking of 2nd. Having won seven European titles in total, Rytter Juhl is the most successful Danish player in European Championship history. The pair also won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and, in doing so, became the first Europeans to ever compete in an Olympic women’s doubles final.
The blonde haired doubles specialist has been a prominent character in both Danish as well as international badminton through almost his entire career. Besides having won several prestigious titles around the world, Jonas Rasmussen has also been an important actor in the establishment of the current training culture at the national training.
After having won German Open back in 2003, his career quickly gained speed, and shortly after he became the first European ever to win the China Open. However, there is another title of his that take up more of the attention, namely the one he won with Lars Paaske in the men’s doubles category at the World Championships.
In that category Jonas Rasmussen has also won the All England as well as other big, international tournaments. But also in the mixed doubles category, he was a respected player and a feared opponent, which among other results is proved by his 4th place at the Olympic Games back in 2004.
Besides of having partnered up with Lars Paaske and Rikke Olsen, Jonas Rasmussen has also had the pleasure of playing with Martin Lundgaard, Peter Steffensen and Mads Conrad-Petersen.
Born on the 30th of September 1977, a Dane destined for greatness was born. Thomas Laybourn was for more than a few years one of the best badminton players, not just domestically but internationally as well.
However, it was not before he was in his late 20’s that he made his international breakthrough. Having won the Danish National Championships together with Kamilla Rytter Juhl for the first time just a few weeks earlier, the two managed to finish as runners-up at the All England in March 2005, losing to Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms.
That breakthrough was the beginning of a long period in which Laybourn would manifest himself as one of the best mixed doubles players in the world. In the following seven and a half years he and Kamilla Rytter Juhl were one of the most respected mixed doubles pairs in the world.
In 2009 the duo achieved their greatest win ever, when they won the World Championships.
With Rytter Juhl, Laybourn also managed to win the Yonex Copenhagen Masters twice, first in 2006 and later in 2009. Also the Yonex Denmark Open tournament has the two Danes listed as winners for two years. Those years are 2005 and 2010.
Although his greatest victories have been achieved in the mixed doubles’ category, he did for some seasons also feature in the men’s doubles’ category, first with Peter Steffensen and later with Lars Paaske.
Christinna Pedersen is a right-handed doubles specialist.
From 2008 onwards, Pedersen paired with Joachim Fischer Nielsen in mixed doubles. The pair gained two European mixed doubles titles, won bronze at the 2009 Hyderabad World Championships and at the 2014 World Championships, and came third at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Pedersen and Fischer Nielsen also produced strong results on the BWF Super Series circuit, winning a total of three World Superseries Finals and ten Superseries titles, and reaching a career high World Ranking of number 1.
In women’s doubles, Pedersen has paired with Kamilla Rytter Juhl from 2010 to 2018. Initially, the two athletes also focussed on competing with their respective partners in mixed doubles, however, as of 2015, Juhl has competed exclusively in the women’s doubles. The pair won a silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, and a bronze medal at the 2013 Guangzhou World Championship and at the 2017 BWF World Championships.
Pedersen and Rytter Juhl have won a total of four European women’s doubles titles, one World Superseries Final and five Superseries titles, and have a career highest World Ranking of number 2. The pair won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and, in doing so, became the first Europeans to ever compete in an Olympic women’s doubles final. Pedersen is also the only Danish badminton player to have won two Olympic medals.
The story about Tine Baun (formerly Tine Rasmussen) is indeed a memorable one.
Like in the old H. C. Andersen fairy tale about The Ugly Duckling, where no one believed that this little duckling could rise up to become a beautiful swan, no one saw Tine Baun coming when she started her climb to the top and rose to the task of becoming Camilla Martin’s successor in the women’s singles category.
After having won her first big, international tournament in 2007 in Japan, she had a marvellous and succesful 2008, where she both won her first All England title and claimed several Super Series medals, including gold in Malaysia and Singapore. Her second All England title came in 2010.
In total, Tine Baun has won the prestigious All England no less than three times. And as if that fact alone was not enough, the beautiful and remarkable thing about her third English gold medal is that it was won in her last tournament ever as a professional badminton player in March 2013.
During her career Tine Baun also managed to climb all the way to the top and rank as the world’s best women’s singles player.
Finally Tine Baun can also boast of having incredible ten national championship medals hanging on her trophy wall.
JAN ØSTERGAARD JØRGENSEN
Jan Østergaard Jørgensen won the men’s singles title at the 2014 European Championships, and the bronze at the 2015 World Championships. He joined the Denmark winning team at the 2016 Thomas Cup in Kunshan, China.
He was the runner up at 2009 China Open Super Series and won Denmark Open in 2010, French Open (badminton) in 2013, Indonesia Open (badminton) in 2014 and the invitational Copenhagen Masters in 2009, 2011 and 2012. In 2014, he became the first European male singles player to win the Indonesia Open.
In March 2015 he reached the final of the All England Super Series, but lost against Chen Long, from China, 21-15, 17-21, 15-21.
He played his last match at DANISA DENMARK OPEN presented by VICTOR 2020, against the danish player Anders Antonsen.