Badminton Life

Denmark Hopes for Beijing Gold

When you think of badminton and the Olympics, it is inevitable that you will start to think of Asia and this is not purely because the 2008 Games are being held in Beijing.

The tournament has been dominated by Asian players and so far, no non Asian woman has managed to triumph in bringing home an Olympic gold medal. This may be slightly discouraging for some non Asian entrants at this year's event but there are quiet hopes building about one European female who may be able to break this Asian reign.

Tine Rasmussen has had an excellent year so far and her three major titles so far in 2008 have led to a quiet confidence that this may be the tournament where Europe claims badminton Olympic gold. Rasmussen hasn't brought much of the attention on herself but her performances have gone a long way to bringing her to the attention of onlookers. The limelight may not be the natural place to find Rasmussen, it took her a long time to come out of the shadow cast by Camilla Martin, Denmark's former world champion but it has been hard to ignore what Tine has achieved this year.

The run of triumph for Rasmussen started back in March when she strode over to England and returned the All England Open champion. This victory was swiftly followed by title triumphs in Malaysia and the Japan Open. Three major wins in any year is pretty good going but it hasn't all been plain sailing for Rasmussen. She was expected to triumph on home soil in the European Championship but lost out in the final. The defeat to Xu Huaiwen, representing Germany, was a set back but one that Rasmussen feels can help her preparations.

It has been a long road for Tine Rasmussen who first started playing badminton at the age of seven, so she has seen a lot in the sport. Having a sibling involved in the game can be a blessing or a curse but there is no doubting that Tine took a lot from watching her brother Per play. After this when Tine started to become involved in the upper reaches of the game, she would have learned a lot from international team-mates, particularly Camilla Martin and Denmark's silver medal performance at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

There is no doubt that the Chinese triumvirate will be expected by many to have the best chance of taking home the major title but Tine is not ruling out her chances at this stage. With the draw still to be made, all it takes is some tricky ties for the top players to appear in trouble and then things can start to open up.

It is also hard to predict the knock out stages of any major tournament and when the games are happening so frequently, loss of form or injury can be felt acutely by players. Any player facing the Chinese has to be aware of the immense pressure that they will be under and anything a badminton player can do to try and up the pressure on the Chinese team maybe enough to give them a string chance of defeating their rival.

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