'Winning Oly bronze was a special moment'

Rising star

'Winning Oly bronze was a special moment'

A towering Dane leapt high, executed a fiery smash past badminton legend Lin Dan, and then broke into tears as he claimed a badminton medal in men’s singles for his country after a gap of nearly 20 years.

The man in question was Viktor Axelsen, who shed his disappointment of being beaten by Chen Long in the semifinal, to bring high honour to his country.

“It was a really special moment for me. The biggest thing for a badminton player is to win a medal at the Olympics so that was the most special moment of my career so far,” said the World No 3 who represents the Bengaluru Blasters in the Premier Badminton League.

With high expectations and having to deal with injuries in the lead up to Rio, the 23-year-old was mature in his response saying, “Expectations and injuries are part of the sport and something everyone needs to deal with. When you eventually do well, there’s a sense of relief and the feeling is great.”

There has been a slow but sure shift in the badminton power houses over the last few years. Though the Southeast Asians still rule the roost, they are by no means are unchallenged now.

This diversity is something Axelsen feels is necessary to boost the popularity of the sport world over. “It’s really good to have diversity in the top rankings. Also, it is important for every country to believe that it isn’t all China and that we can compete with them.”

Having signed-off the season on a high with victory in the World Superseries final at Dubai, Axelsen is looking forward to continuing in the same vein in the new year.

“I’m really happy about the year I’ve had. It’s been the best of my career and hopefully it’s just the start and I can carry on this way in 2017.” 

After having learnt Mandarin in order to open up opportunities in Asia, could learning Kannada, as he is representing Bengaluru, be an option for the language enthusiast?
“Right now I’m just learning a few fun sentences but it definitely maybe an option in the future,” he says with a chuckle.

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