The Denmark China connection

Last year Samantha and I had qualified ourselves for the World Championships which were then organized in China. Our Association didn’t have the funds to delegate us but with a crowdfunding project we got that much financial support that we were able to go.

This year the World Championships are organized by Badminton Denmark. The venue is the Ballerup Super Arena, some 25 km from Copenhagen. So not far to travel and because of that a lot cheaper for the Association to delegate us.

Early Saturdaymorning we fly to Copenhagen by KLM and we move into the Zleep Hotel which is located around the corner of the arena. Very convenient but far from urban life. So nothing to distract us and we can focus completely on our training and the matches to come.

The arena is originally build for cycling racing. But now it has been transformed into a fantastically decorated badminton arena. The Danes have managed to introduce something very innovative. When you are called for a match your name appears on a display at the court where you are playing, also showing your picture and the country you represent. When you start with the warming up the display is raised and changes into the life score board. Very ingenious. Apart from this the whole crew of volunteers helping to make this tournament a success are dressed in bright orange shirts. You will understand that we Dutch feel at home.

Our first match is scheduled Monday morning. We know our opponents, Kaesbauer en Herttrich, pretty well. Last March at the Swiss Open we were defeated by them in 2 games. So time for revanche.

In the beginning of the first game we both don’t give way but after the interval we manage to switch to an other playing level and even score 5 consecutive points. We take a good lead and soon we have game point which we don’t cash. At the second game point we take the win, 21-16. In the second game we fall behind pretty soon but again after the interval we score 5 consecutive points and draw level. After that we both don’t give way much, but in the final stage we get the first game point. Again we don’t finish it off. We come to 20-20 but then we score 2 points and win the match.

The second round on Tuesday is tough. We meet the Chinese Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, seeded 10th and number 11 on the world ranking. Only six months they are playing together and they have already developed to a “world class” mixed double pair. Well in advance we analyzed their playing style but especially new pairs do easily change their style sometimes. Of course they don’t play completely different now but the Chinese man was playing much better than we had seen on videos. Better control at mid court, no stupid choices, no free points because of service mistakes etc.

We make a good start in the first game and we don’t give way much. But then the Chinese accelerate and we can’t keep up with them. Two times they score 4 or 5 consecutive points and we don’t get a chance anymore.
We lose : 12-21. In the second game we offer better resistance but it’s no close battle at all. We lose the game by 16-21 and the match.

Of course we are not satisfied with the result (losing in the second round) but we are with the way we played these two matches. Our coach Kim is also satisfied and he sees much progress since he started his job 5 months ago. Our mixed in the World Championships is finished but the spirit is unchanged and high. A new season is about to start with new challenges and with good chances to improve our world ranking.

The past weeks Samantha and I, together with Kim, have looked at the tournament program for the months to come. Thereby we had to make the choice of whether to play Super Series in China and Hong Kong or not. Our coach and our intellect told us to go there but our financial situation told us not to go. The budget we get from our Association is not sufficient and with 4 more months to go we have very little money left. Still, after much deliberation we did cut the knot. In November we’ll play the Thaihot China Open and immediately after that the Sunrise Hong Kong Open. The cost of the tournament hotel in Hong Kong is higher than the cost of the return flight to Fuzhou and Hong Kong. This may give you an idea about how heavily this trip weighs on our budget. I do not intend to start a crowdfunding project again like I did last year. After all it’s not a World or European Championship we are talking about. But to us these two tournaments are equally important and I will not refrain from saying that any financial support will be more than welcome. If you want to make a contribution please send me an email at info@jorritderuiter.com. I will be very grateful.

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