Anders Antonsen claims badminton gold for Denmark at 2019 European Games

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Anders Antonsen stands on the podium for the Denmark National Anthem following his victory in the men's singles final. (photo: European Games, Minsk)
Anders Antonsen stands on the podium for the Denmark National Anthem following his victory in the men's singles final. (photo: European Games, Minsk)

Minsk: Anders Antonsen, who was the sole Danish men’s singles player at the 2nd European Games that was held in Minsk, Belarus from June 21 to June 30, 2019, after former World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen pulled out from the tournament citing respiratory illness, had to dig deep to beat World No. 33 Brice Leverdez of France in 70 minutes to win the men’s singles gold on Sunday.

Antonsen narrowly winning the first set 21-19 before losing the second game to Leverdez 14-21. However, Antonsen rebounded and dominated the decider with a 21-10 win in the last game.

This was the first time a Denmark player had won the men’ singles title as Pablo Abian of Spain defeated Emil Holst of Denmark in the final four years ago to clinch the men’s singles title.

In the men’s doubles final that was held on Saturday, World No. 22 Marcus Ellis/Chris Langridge of Great Britain stunned world No. 8 Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen with a 21-17, 21-10 victory.

Marcus Ellis added a second gold to his trophy case on Sunday when he and Lauren Smith pulled off an upset to outlast teammates and No. 1 seeds Chris Adcock/Gabrielle Adcock 21-14, 21-19 in the mixed doubles final to win the second badminton gold for Great Britain.

In addition to Antonsen’s triumph in men’s singles, World No. 20 Mia Blichfeldt became the second Denmark women’s singles player to ever win the European Games (after Line Kjaersfeldt won it in 2015) as the 21-year-old saw off Kirsty Gilmour of Great Britain 21-16, 21-17 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, No. 4 seeds Selena Piek/Cheryl Seinen of Netherlands were forced to work hard before walking away with a 14-21, 21-13, 21-15 win against unseeded Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith of Great Britain in the women’s doubles final.

Around 4,000 athletes from 50 countries participated in the 2019 European Games, and ten of the sports, including badminton, offered qualification points for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

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