BADMINTON England finally got their man today when Kenneth Jonassen was confirmed as their new GB and England men’s singles coach.
The 35-year-old will take up his role on July 12 but his appointment will be a big boost to the GB players going into the Yonex All England Championships, which start tomorrow (Tues) at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
Jonassen will also be in Birmingham for the 100th All England as singles coach with the Denmark squad.
Adrian Christy, BADMINTON England Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to acquire Kenneth’s services. It has been a long wait to get all the details confirmed but Kenneth is the man our Performance Director Ian Moss has always wanted.”
Ian Moss added: “This appointment confirms our continued commitment to developing a world class Singles programme within the GB system. We are delighted Kenneth has agreed to join us and he will be on board just in time to help prepare our players for the World Championships in Paris in late August.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge to our coaching team and exhibits a real sense of what it takes to create a medal winning environment.
“The long-term aim is to prepare GB singles players for the Commonwealth Games in October, the World Championships in London in 2011 and the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
“We currently have three men in or around the top 30 in Rajiv Ouseph (No. 23), Andrew Smith (26) and Carl Baxter (35). We believe Kenneth has the ability not only to move these players forward but also to develop a strong work ethic and focus on singles play for our coaches and athletes working with other promising younger players in the system.”
Kenneth Jonassen said: “I'm looking forward to the new challenge as head coach of singles in England. My personal goals are clear, bringing the singles department to another level on the international stage and, over time, develop new talent that can compete with the best of China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Denmark. I know it's going to take time and a lot of hard work, but I believe that the talent is there.”
As well as being in Birmingham, Jonassen will also be at the Yonex European Badminton Championships in Manchester next month. He is, in fact, the reigning European men’s singles champion, having won in his home town of Herning in 2008 before retiring at the end that year to take on his current coaching role.
The win in Herning ended a long wait for gold. Jonassen had won four silvers and a bronze in the five previous European Championships. He also won many tournaments on the international circuit as he climbed as high as No. 2 in the world.
He launched his international success by reaching the 2002 Denmark Open final. But his most notable successes came with victory at the Korea Open in 2003 and the Singapore Open in 2004. He was also runner-up in Singapore in 2006, beaten only by fellow Dane Peter Gade.
He was Danish National champion in 2004 and 2008 and was a key member of the Denmark team that took the Thomas Cup men’s world team championship bronze medal in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and the silver medal in 2004 and 2006.
BADMINTON England will be arranging an press conference with Kenneth Jonassen during Friday evening’s session at the Yonex All England Championships at a time to fit around his coaching commitments with the Denmark squad. The time of the conference will be confirmed during this week’s Championships. This will be the only interview Mr Jonassen will attend.