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BADMINTON

Danish men reach badminton world final

Denmark beat Malaysia in a thrilling 3-2 semi-final at the Thomas Cup late Friday to inch closer to winning their first world badminton team championship.

Danish men reach badminton world final
Denmark's hero, Hans-Kristian Vittingshus. Photo: Scanpix

Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus reversed the tide midstream in a dramatic comeback against the talent-rich Malaysians after the Danes dropped the two first matches of the semi-final in the eastern Chinese city of Kunshan.

World number two Lee Chong Wei put his teammates on the winning path after grinding down reigning European champion Viktor Axelsen in a 23-21, 21-18 win.

Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong maintained the lead with an exhausting pace against Mathias Boe and Mads Conrad-Petersen with leaping overhead smashes in their 21-18, 21-18 win.

Down two points, Vittinghus wrestled back momentum from the Malaysians by remaining patient during lengthy rallies with Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, whittling away his opponent's stamina for the 21-18, 21-18 comeback.

“I stayed calm and stuck to my game plan — that's a lot easier said than done,” Vittinghus said after the match.

With the Chinese fans firmly behind them, Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen kept the Danes in the tournament with a 10-21, 21-8, 21-13 win over Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong.

In the dramatic fifth match of the tie, Emil Holst clinched the Danes' final berth with a 21-15, 21-18 win over Chong Wei Feng, bringing his teammates rushing onto the court.

Denmark are set to face Indonesia on Sunday in the Thomas Cup final.

 

MATCH-FIXING

Denmark makes racket over ‘match-fixing’ Chinese badminton players

The national association for badminton in Denmark says the sport’s world federation should punish Chinese players for a match at last week’s Fuzhou China Open which has been described as a “farce”.

Denmark makes racket over 'match-fixing' Chinese badminton players
China's Junhui Li, left, and Yuchen Liu, seen here during a different match, lost in the controversial quarter-final in Fuzhou. AP Photo/Aaron Favila/Ritzau Scanpix

Bo Jensen, director of Badminton Denmark, wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to take action after seeing footage of a quarter final match in which He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets.

“I am giving my support to the criticism. This is cheating, it’s match-fixing and we can’t accept it,” Jensen said to TV2 Sport.

“In our context, this is just as bad as doping, and it must be punished because if it is not, we will damage the sport’s reputation amongst fans and the many sponsors that are making huge investments at the moment,” he added.

Several Danish badminton players are reported to have been present during the match. Doubles pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad-Petersen lodged a complaint with tournament organisers following the match about the way it had been played.

Another player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, later posted an update on Facebook in which he compared the match to a scandal during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose.

“This was a complete farce of a match which made me think of the London Olympics when 4 pairs deliberately tried to lose their matches. I kid you not, it was this bad,” Vittinghus wrote, citing errors in play that “just (don’t) happen at this level”.

“Difficult to get hard evidence, but if you have watched a bare minimum of world class badminton, you’d know what just happened,” he also wrote.

The BWF told TV2 Sport that it would not comment on the issue prior to receiving a report from the tournament’s organisers.

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