Glasgow: 20 years ago, Denmark’s Peter Rasmussen played his heart out to beat Sun Jun of China in the 1997 World Champion final in Glasgow, Scotland. That match lasted 124 minutes, and was the longest ever recorded badminton match at that time.
20 years later, in the same city and same country, another player from Denmark, Viktor Axelsen became the third Dane to take the world title by beating his idol, the legendary Lin Dan of China 22-20, 21-16 in 54 minutes to claim his maiden world championships trophy.
Axelsen survived Lin Dan’s late surge to top the 5-time World Champion 22-20 in the first set. Just like what he did in his 21-9, 21-10 demolition of Olympic champion Chen Long in the semi-final, Axelsen started the second set very well, leading Lin Dan with 6-3, 12-5. However, Axelsen showed some sign of nervousness when he lost 3 consecutive points at 19-13. Axelsen regained his confident after a strong smash along the line that secured the match point for him. The 23-year-old Axelsen then couldn’t believe what he had achieved when Lin Dan sent the shuttle to the net, he was in shock, before he went down on his knees and started his victory celebration.
Flemming Delfs was the first Denmark player who won the World Championships men’s singles title 40 years ago, followed by Peter Rasmussen in 1997.
The men’s doubles final was surprisingly one-sided with the Chinese pair No. 8 seeds Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan showcased an aggressive brand of badminton as they needed just 37 minutes to eviscerate Mohammad Ahsan/Rian Agung Saputro 21-10, 21-17.
Indonesia’s Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir made sure their country wasn’t left walking away empty handed at the end of the tournament by outlasting No. 1 seeds Zheng Siwei/Chen Qingchen 15-21, 21-16, 21-15 to claim their second mixed doubles world title.