Friday, May 24, 2019
TEXT BY GAYLE ALLEYNE | BADMINTONPHOTO
Denmark’s head coach Kenneth Jonassen is leaving China in good spirits and keen to rebuild a strong national squad that will again challenge the best Asian teams.
Following his players’ 3-1 defeat to the hosts in last night’s TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 quarterfinals, he reflected on various positives and lessons that will help the European champions’ develop their blossoming generation amid the recent retirements of greats such as Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen.
“This has been a unique team experience. We’ve maintained good spirits and I love the fact that we bounced back from falling short to England – where we didn’t play our best – to beat Indonesia and then to challenge China,” assessed Jonassen.
“I’m not extremely happy and neither am I disappointed. I am generally in a good place. We’re going through a generation change. Our new and younger players have proven they are very hungry and dedicated and love to play for the country and for each other.
“So, overall, it’s okay. I’m a little dissatisfied that we didn’t push China to the fifth match tonight.”
On the quarterfinal specifically, the head coach was pleased that in every match his players gave the Chinese something to think about.
“Tonight we achieved one of our goals – to put pressure on China; to see if we could rattle them and I think we did that in all the matches. We asked them a few questions and they answered really well,” said Jonassen after Chen Yufei beat Mia Blichfeldt in women’s singles to end the tie.
“You can see they are an experienced team. Their depth in each category gives them confidence. If they lose one match, they know they will be strong in the next one. I would say we did our best but China deserved to win. They were better than us.”