Badminton Life

Rasmussen Hoping to Make History in Beijing

Tine Rasmussen has emerged as a genuine contender for the Olympic gold medal after a successful year in which she won the All England title and two other tournaments.

The 28-year-old Dane is hoping to become the first non-Asian to win Olympic badminton gold when she lines up against a powerful field of women from host country China as well as other Asian countries.

The Beijing Olympics in August probably represents her final chance of winning an Olympic medal, and with her sound performances this year, including last week's Singapore Open title, few would bet against her.

Despite her defeat in April's European championship on home turf to German Xu Huaiwen, world number six Rasmussen feels she is mentally and physically capable of challenging for honours in Beijing.

"I have a lot of confidence and I will be there to fight for everything," Rasmussen said in an interview with Reuters.

"I will go to Beijing to play my best badminton ever and if I do that it is a success for me. When you only set goals for medals it can be tough. To win the gold medal, everything has to go right at that moment."

Rasmussen would love to better the performance of former teammate and friend Camille Martin, who won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. She said Martin had a great influence on her career.

"She was just always better than me and I learned a lot from her," Rasmussen said. "She was in that position that I'm in now, talking to all the journalists and I was just outside, watching. When she stopped I was mature enough to take over the singles mantle in Denmark."

Rasmussen will have tough competition in Beijing with top-seeded Xie Xingfang, defending champion Zhang Ning and Lu Lan bolstered by the home crowd and starting as overwhelming favourites.

She is hoping that the Chinese players will cave into the pressure that they are likely to receive from home fans, who will expect nothing less than a sweep of medals in the badminton competition.

"If they have tough draws in the first and second round it can be really bad for them," said Rasmussen. "I think the ladies' singles is very open."

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