By: Alaric Gomes
Dubai: A top-level tournament in the US and an Emirati player on the international circuit are among the legacies European champion Jan O. Jorgensen would like to leave behind before he quits the badminton circuit.
Dane Jorgenson — a semi-finalist at the season-closing BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals at the Hamdan Sports Complex here at the weekend — is a colourful character with a distinct mop-like hair style.
Other than being reigning European champion, the resident of Aalborg has also won bronze medals at the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and has won his home Danish Open in 2012 and 2013.
However, among his biggest achievements is winning the singles title at the Indonesia Open in June, when he became the first European player to take the crown.
Jorgensen celebrates his 27th birthday on December 31, and as he approaches that mark, he said he wants to see badminton spread to new frontiers, starting with the US.
“What we have here [in Dubai] is distinct and unique. This is a new stop and it is such a great opportunity for us all to come and see this place and be part of such a great event. Such tournaments and new venues can only help our sport become bigger,” Jorgensen told media.
“China is no longer the badminton power that it used to be. There are other countries such as Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Denmark, India and Taipei that have caught up.
“There are a few new kids on the block like [India’s K.] Srikanth and Son [Wan-ho of Korea]. What I would ideally like to see is a tournament being played in the US. That would be a great frontier for our sport.
“And it would be hugely satisfying to see a kid from this part of the world [UAE] come through in the next few years and play regularly on the international circuit.
“What we need now to take our sport to the next level is to pump in more money and explore more territories. We need to glamourise our sport and attract new people. And if such a thing does happen, then I will be there rooting for the future.”