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Uhre: We are the favourites

Lars Uhre, the National Coach of Europe's strongest badminton country, talks exclusively to about the 2013 European Mixed Team Championships in Ramenskoe, his decision to leave Jan Ø. Jørgensen and Tine Baun at home and the 40-year old shares his opinion of the standard of European badminton. Lars, the Danes are considered as the big favourite at the 2013 European Mixed Team Championships. Would you agree?

Lars Uhre: Yes, I agree. We are favourites to win the European Mixed Team Championships.

Who do you think will challenge you and your team in Russia?

I reckon the “usual suspects” from England, Germany and the Netherlands will try to challenge us, but I actually see Russia as the strongest contester as they have a strong team and are on home soil.

Jan Ø. Jørgensen and Tine Baun are not joining Denmark in Russia. Why did you take that decision to leave the best singles player in your team at home?

It is our ambition to win the gold medal on the one hand, but at the same time to give the opportunity to the next generation of players to compete in the National Team. As it has been our practice in the last tournaments we will not have the full team for the group stage matches and who will join the squad as the tournament proceeds I would like to keep as our secret.

How have you rated the 2012 badminton year for Denmark?

We have had an amazing 2012 with lots of wonderful results. We are very proud of our performance in London 2012 where the entire team did very well and almost everyone played up to their best level. Even though qualifying for and performing at the Olympics took most of our efforts in 2012, we are proud to have produced other results like Thomas Cup bronze medal. Our Uber Cup team reached the quarterfinals and was close to win medal. We had Super Series Finals winners, European Team gold and silver, best country at European Championships and numerous other good performances.

Do you think the standard of badminton in Europe has increased in recent years?

Yes, it has increased tremendously, but so has the world standard which makes it even more difficult for all Europeans to compete at top level. In all five categories lots of countries are producing players at Super Series level, which makes even the first rounds difficult to win. However, I find it very uplifting that Juliane Schenk is actually the foreign player in the world who has the best record against the Chinese girls in 2012, and that Chris Adcock/Imogen Bankier beaten the Olympic mixed doubles champions two times. This shows that other countries in Europe than us can produce players who can compete against the very best.

Peter Gade, the biggest name in European badminton for the last 15 years, just retired. Who are the players who can challenge the Asians in the men’s singles now?

Do you see anyone except the Danes who could have the ambitions in the men's singles? If we talk about the best Asians, then I do not really see anyone at the moment, but I would like someone to prove me wrong on this matter!

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via Badminton Europe

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