Asia in Denmark Open 2020 Games: Thriving Despite Challenges
Since the tournament first began in 1935 however, the host nation Denmark is still the country that’s won the most with them winning 136 medals, with China coming in second with 62 total and Japan third with 25.5, previous to the 2020 games.
However, in recent years, Asian badminton athletes have dominated the Denmark Open. In the 2017, 2018 and 2019 tournaments, ALL winners came from Asian countries, with Kento Momota, Tai Tzu Ying and Indonesian duo Marcus Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya winning back to back medals in their respective categories in the 2018 and 2019 games.
2020 Games: What happened this year?
The 2020 tournament, held from the 13 - 18 October 2020 in Odense, Denmark, went through a lot of changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s rocked the world this year. The 2020 Denmark Open was the 6th tournament of the 2020 BWF World Tour, after the postponement of 17 tournaments because of the pandemic.
Many Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia had to unfortunately drop out of the competitions because of the situation with the virus in their respective countries. The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) withdrew their player’s from this year's Thomas and Uber Cup as well as the Denmark Open due to concerns over the safety during this COVID-19 pandemic. “We have sent a letter to the Youth and Sports Ministry to relay a statement to the BWF on the matter. The decision was made following a discussion with athletes and team officials,” said PBSI secretary-general Achmad Budiharto.
Only a handful of Asian countries were able to participate, including Japan, India and Chinese Taipei but even they couldn’t send a ‘complete’ set of players. Many players from these respective countries also withdrew from the competition.
Below is a highlight of the Asian players that participated in this year’s Denmark Open:
Kenta Nishimoto, Japan
He reached the semi-finals after defeating Israeli player Misha Zilberman and French player Brice Leverdez in the first and second round and Danish player H-K Vittinghus. In the semis he lost to Danish player Rasmus Gemke 21-14, 21-17.
Chou Tien-chen, Chinese Taipei
He went onto the semi-finals after defeating Danish player Svendsen, and Irish player Nhat Nguyen in the first and second round, and Indian player Kidambi in the quarter-finals. In the semis he lost to Anders Antonsen from Denmark 21-17, 21-15
Srikanth Kidambi, India
He reached the quarter-finals after defeating English player T. Penty in the first round, and J. Ho-shue from Canada in the second round. He lost to Chou Tien-chen in the quarter finals in a rubber set game 20-22, 21-13, 21-16
Lakshya Sen, India
He made it to the Round of 16 after defeating French player Christo Popov in the first round. He lost to danish player Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the second round 15-21, 21-7, 21-17
Subhankar Dey, India
He was in the first round but lost to Candian player J. Ho-Shue 21-13, 21-18
Ajay Jayaram, India
He was in the first round but lost to Danish player Anders Antonsen 21-12, 21-14
Nozomi Okuhara, Japan
She defeated Scottish player Kirsty Gilmour, Welsh player Jordan Hart and Danish player Julie Dawall Jakobsen in the 1st, 2nd and quarter-finals respectively. Then went on to beat Canadian player Michelle Li in the semi’s and then beat Spanish player Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-17 in the finals to win the Women’s Singles competition.
No athletes from Asian countries participated in the Men’s Doubles.
It was an all Japanese final between Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota and Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota defeated German pair Linda Efler/Isabel Herttrich, English pair Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith, and Danish pair Christine Busch/Amalie Schulz to reach the finals. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara defeated Danish pair Natasja P. Anthonisen/Clara Graversen and Maiken Fruergaard/Sara Thygesen and Bulgarian pair Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva to reach the finals.
The duo Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota went on to win the match 21-10, 16-21, 21-18.
No athletes from Asian countries participated in the Mixed Doubles.
Congratulations to the Japanese women for winning the singles and doubles badminton titles at the Denmark Open on Sunday!
In the women’s singles, Nozomi Okuhara, who is currently ranked #4 on BWF’s World Ranking, beat Carolina Marin from Spain 21-19 21-17, to win the Women’s Singles Finals. This is her first title in an international event since November 2018.
In the Women Doubles event, it was an all Japanese final! The world’s #2 duo Yuki Fukushima and Hirota Sayaka beat #3 Wakana Nagahara and Mayu Matsumoto in a thrilling 21-10, 16-21, 21-18 match!
Amazing of Japan for bringing Asia back onto the podium for this year’s competition!
Despite the ongoing pandemic and so many athletes deciding to withdraw due to their safety and health concerns, the competition and athletes that participated have thrived in the midst of all these challenges. They’ve fought hard for themselves and the countries they represent, and our Asian athletes have still managed to claim victory. Congratulations to all the winners and participants of the competition. We hope next year will allow us to host the competition in a safer environment so everyone can participate in our badminton events.