Anders Antonsen, Denmark’s men’s single player, has decided to leave Denmark in favor of Dubai. Similar to what Viktor Axelsen has done, Antonsen is now in the process of establishing his own training setup in Dubai. He will also take up residence in Dubai.

This is a quick Google translation of a press release from the Danish Badminton Association. At the end, you’ll find my personal comments

Anders Antonsen leaves Denmark for Dubai


Anders Antonsen will no longer be a regular part of the (Denmark) national team training in Br√łndby. He has made a decision to move to Dubai to create his own training setup.

With his move, Anders Antonsen withdraws from Badminton Denmark's elite program. This means that he can no longer have a Badminton Denmark national coach as head coach, get financial support or make use of Team Denmark's experts in everyday life.

- I have been really happy to be part of the national team training, and I am not traveling because I am unhappy with how things are going in Denmark. On the contrary, I am very happy and grateful for the cooperation I have had with coaches and my colleagues.
- I have just reached a place in my life where I have a desire and hunger to try myself in a new way. I will have a base in Dubai, but also want to travel and train in different countries and explore the many different approaches to badminton and training culture, says Anders Antonsen.

Jens Meibom, elite and sports manager at Badminton Denmark, comments on Antonsen's move:
- We have never hidden the fact that we prefer to have all our best players gathered at NETC (Nationale Elite Training Center), as badminton is a sparring sport, but we respect his choice and only wish that Anders succeeds good luck going forward.
- We have great faith in our training setup, which has documented that it can develop world-class players, and we still believe that we can, even though Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen have moved. 

Firstly, the move does not affect the other categories, where we still need to develop world-class players. In addition, both Anders and Viktor will continue to be at home in Denmark 13-15 weeks a year and train with NETC and thus contribute to the development of the next generation of young players. Finally, they will both still be able to be selected for championships such as EC and WC and contribute to winning medals for Danish badminton, says Jens Meibom.

The National Elite Training Center lays out courts for Denmark's best badminton players. This is where they have their daily training under the leadership of Badminton Denmark's national coaching team.

My thoughts on Anders Antonsen’s move

This comes as no surprise. There is little evidence to suggest that the various National Elite Training Centers in different countries are particularly advantageous for all top players.

For most players, it’s all they’ve got. Hence they stay put. The financial burden of the alternatives is too much to handle for most badminton players. Luckily Anders Antonsen and Viktor Axelsen are able and willing to risk the investment in their future results.

One could argue that if the training environment at NETC Denmark was so fantastic, Anders Antonsen and Viktor Axelsen would not ditch NETC in favor of creating their own setups. On the other hand, it could be that their actions solely are driven by a quest for independence, which also makes sense. I, for one, applaud athletes who take matters into their own hands.

Truth be told, if we disregard Viktor Axelsens’ achievements, Denmark has not delivered great results for quite some time.
Personally, I believe we are seeing a gradual decline in the position of Danish badminton. Within a few years, Denmark will no longer be number 1 in Europe and will not be considered among the 8 best badminton nations in the world.

There are obviously several reasons for that. One of which is that the European-wide competition has gotten much more competitive in recent years. And perhaps Badminton Denmark has been a bit too complacent in recent years.

In any event, for the sport to prosper outside of Asia, it is paramount to develop top players from Europe, Panam, and in time, the Middle East and Africa (MEA). If not, the sport of badminton will turn into an all-Asia affair.

What needs to be done?
Something needs to be done, it seems. But is now the right time for Badminton Denmark to rattle the cage, sack some of the key people currently involved with the elite program, and then rethink their approach to talent development?

We would love to hear your thoughts on this! Please use the comments section to voice your opinion.

What’s next? will follow the developments closely.


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