Badminton Life

Denmark Hopes for Beijing Gold

For most of the players in the line-up for the Beijing Olympic Games badminton competition, taking part is merely a formality.

Either through world or country rankings, they knew they were going to play in Beijing and had no worries about whether or not they would miss out on the biggest stage in global sport.

However, for some players, playing in the Olympics was never a sure thing. There was a nervous wait as to whether they would be picked or if their national Olympic committees would even ratify their selection.

New Zealand's Renee Flavell was among those who suffered anxious moments over whether or not she would wear her country's colours in China.

Last week, she finally got the long-awaited call that she could go to Beijing. While the top Chinese or Danish players would never bat an eyelid at selection, for Flavell, it was a dream come true.

She told the Howick and Pakuranga Times: "I just don't know what to say. When I answered the phone I was crossing my fingers because I knew that that was the call with the answer.

"I'm just really excited and happy. I'm just relieved that it's all over now and that all that hard work has paid off. It doesn't really feel real yet. I keep thinking I've just qualified for the World Champs but then I have to remind myself it's the Olympics."

Flavell and partner Craig Cooper had qualified for the mixed doubles event of the Olympics thanks to their world ranking of 15. However, the final decision rested with the New Zealand Olympic Committee, which eventually decided that it was worthwhile to send a badminton team to represent the country in Beijing.

This is a problem with many sports where an athlete may have met Olympic standards but a country's Olympic committee refuses to allow them to compete. When the New Zealand body took their time over badminton, there were fears that badminton would be left out.

"No one really knows the reason behind why it took them so long to answer but I really don't care anymore," said 26-year-old Flavell.

"I've just told everyone at work and they're all really pleased and Mum and Nan are really stoked as well."

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