Badminton Life

Danes Want to Keep Their Own Style

Danish badminton, which is still a world power despite struggling for players, is facing a battle to get their youngsters to stop copying the way Asians play.

The Danes, who rule Europe but with players such as Peter Gade and Tine Rasmussen, provide the stiffest competition for Asian players in international tournaments.

However, they have pride in the way they play a measured game, rather than the fast and furious techniques used by Asians.

But coaches are struggling to prevent young Danes from mimicking the Asian style - because they see how successful it is, according to Danish junior coach Jakob Hoei.

"In terms of technique, we're not number one in any particular aspect like speed or stamina," he said in the Indian media at the world junior championships.

"We defend and attack well and have smart shots. We can only get our juniors for 15 hours of training in a week, while the Asians do 25. But we learn a lot from watching our senior pros.

"When they watch the Chinese win, they go home and want to copy it. But they realise it's not easy to play the same way physically and technically, so we try working our games around sound tactics.

"Our kids learn much from watching the big Danish names. The incentives are to get better, build a social attachment to this revered sport, and, of course, to keep up the pace with the Asians."

Only three players were sent by Denmark to the world juniors - Steffen Rasmussen, Emil Holst and Anne Hald Jensen.

Their faith in their own style of play, which has produced players such as Morten Frost and Gade, is so strong that they have refrained from copying many European countries and imported Asian coaches.

Hoei was impressed with the Indian development programme, which has seen the country produce players of the quality of 18-year-old Saina Nehwal, one of the favourites for the women's singles title at the world juniors.

He said the Indians are adapting their style of play to employ quicker rallies and harder shots, with speed and agility to get around the court.

He said: "The Indian youngsters are no longer with slower games and high lifts. Now, their game is fast-paced with good pushes. Some strokes of the doubles players at the net, are ones I've never seen before. Saina plays like an adult, very mature for her age."

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