Peter-Gade enjoys ‘old man’ status

Bright start: Peter-Gade Christensen strolled past Valeriy Atrashchenkov of Ukraine Monday.

BEING rated as one of the title contenders at the age of 32 years old is certainly not too bad for Danish Peter-Gade Christensen.Bright start: Peter-Gade Christensen strolled past Valeriy Atrashchenkov of Ukraine Monday.

In fact, he is relishing every moment of it.

And on a good day, Christensen is confident that he can take down either world number one Lee Chong Wei or China’s Lin Dan.

However, he is realistic of his chances in his seventh World Championships outing in Hyderabad here.

Yesterday, he got off to a flying start with a 21-11, 21-16 win over Ukraine’s Valeriy Atrashchenkov in the first round.

“Without doubt, I am here to win a medal. But I have to be realistic as it is going to be quite tough. My first goal is to check into the last eight,” he said.

Barring any upsets, he is expected to take on Lin Dan of China in the quarter-finals.

“I think I am one of the older ones among the top players here. But I am ranked third in the world and still am at my best.

“On my best day, I can beat Chong Wei or Lin Dan. I have shown that I can do it by winning three Super Series titles. I will give my best shot here,” he said.

Currently, the top six are world number one Chong Wei, followed by Chen Jin of China, Christensen, Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, Lin Dan and Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro.

“I know that these same players have been up there for about five years. But I do not think that they are going to make it easy for anyone trying to break through,” said Christensen.

“Younger players have to work hard to take over the top players’ places in the rankings.”

Having the experience of playing for more than a decade, Gade-Christensen said that the things that happens in the world of badminton never ceases to amaze him.

“I laughed about it (on England’s withdrawal from the competition following reports of possible terrorist attacks during the world meet). There is always a possible risk anywhere in the world,” he said.

“But it is England’s call and I would rather not comment on it. I was worried initially because I too have family back home. But there have been assurances and let us hope that the focus would be on the game from now onwards.”

Contrary to the views of others, Christensen said that the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) decision to host the world event annually except during the Olympic Games year, would not take away the pride or value of a player winning a world title.

”Aside from the Olympics, I consider it as the second most important event and I for one, will be very happy to have the world title under my belt,” added Gade-Christensen, who came close to nailing one but went down to Hendrawan of Indonesia in the 2001 final in Seville.


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