Monday, 13 August 2012

Competition Winners!

The winners of the competitions are:

Red Carlton shirt: Adam Stewart
I love HK shirt: Conor Brown
Carlton Racket: Camilla Maria Søvndal

Sorry for this short post and sudden change from my Facebook site to this blog, but it had to be done due to the rules on Facebook...

Thanks a million for the support everyone! I've read all the wonderful comments and I feel overwhelmed by all the nice things said about me. You all deserved a prize, but unfortunately that's not possible!

Congrats to the lucky winner and once again thank to everyone for their continous support!


Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bye 2010!

It's the end of another year and I keep getting little pointers that I should reflect on my year on this blog. First by a colleague and good friend who's had more ups than downs and then by a certain someone who thinks I don't like her to be smart. I think your amazingly smart (see what I did there!)! And I like people to be who they are... ;)

So, I was actually on my way to writing another looooong post breaking the entire year down into small bits. But it suddenly struck me that I was focussing a lot on the negatives of 2010. A disastrous spring where especially missing the Thomas Cup finals due to an infected toe was taking up many words. The summer was only good for my one week training stint at Mr. Misbun Sideks place. And the "easy" super series in Denmark and France in the autumn where I was hoping for a breakthrough was terrible for me.

I was reading it through, started thinking and then I realised I probably should be happy with my 2010. I have seen a friend on the tour being struck by testicular cancer right after achieving one of the best results of his career. I have got to known a player whose own federation is working against him trying to make things as difficult as possible for him, just because he is trying to maximize the possiblity of developing his game in a different way than what they dictate. I've have seen players being out of competition for the entire year due to different injuries. I've even seen a fantastic player having to change nationality not once, but twice, to find a place where she can just focus on what most of us athletes want: to play badminton, enjoy it and get better at it.

(I don't know if any of these players are reading this, but if they are I just want to make sure they know I do honestly admire how they are not giving up, but keeps fighting for their right to be what they want to be and achieve what they dream of.)

So who am I to be so negative looking back at a year where I have:

- Made my first ever Grand Prix Gold Final
- Made my first ever National Championship Semifinal
- Won a second straight European Men's Team Championship Gold Medal
- Won Norwegian Int. for the third time and the Irish Int. for the first time
- Achieved a career high ranking of 31

And many many other great experiences has come my way this year. I've played matches in front of fantastic crowds all over the world. One of the best memories is very recently at the Copenhagen Masters just a few days back. I've also been involved in different ways promoting Solibad, a charity foundation, which has given me great pleasure. And last but not least I've begun a working relationship with two people I find highly inspirational.

Maybe the disappointments I suffered this year were tough, but they have all helped me towards where I am today. And where I am today is not that bad :) I'm ready to take on 2011 with lots of motivation and my starting point of the year is better than ever before.

So looking back at 2010 all I can say is thanks for the good and the bad times, it has all made me grow. Thanks to all of my friends, family and fans who have been supporting me in a fantastic manner. It is much appreciated. Really, it is.

I may not be looking back at 2010 as my best year ever, but I'm certainly looking forward to 2011 being exactly that!

"Tough times never last, but tough people do!" - Robert H. Schuller

Happy new year everyone! :)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bring It On - Part 2!

So a good friend of mine, who's a very inspiring person, reminded me of something I seem to have forgotten for a while. SHE reminded me of how writing can work in a therapeutic way, something I fully agree in, but judging by the time it's been since my last post here one should think I have completely forgotten (or that I don't need a therapeutic treatment lol). I'm not sure getting me back to writing was her hidden agenda (girls always have one), but I know whatever she writes is free to be interpreted as you like, so this is how I choose to interpret it!

Now I'm here and it's time to open up again. Hopefully my inspirator, and all the other readers, will find it interesting, but more importantly I'm sure it will make me feel better with a clearer mind when I press 'post'.

My latest post was about the Dutch, Denmark and French Opens and how I was hoping to do well so I could push into top 28 on the world rankings (a ranking list/system that is broken, but that's a completely different discussion!) Unfortunately I didn't give a good performance in any of these three tournaments. The first two weeks were horrible and the last was just average. Not exactly what I was hoping for and obviously very disappointing. But I have come out of those three weeks with a stronger mind and a more positive outlook on the future. So how is that possible?

First of all my coach Claus Poulsen, whom I only started working with about a month before the tournaments, has been a tremendous help. His commitment towards helping me achieve my goals and getting my final breakthrough has been outstanding so far. I'm not saying it wasn't good with my former coach, but everyone like to do things differently and the change Claus has brought me just seems to have sparked my motivation once again.

The poor results also made me re-think what I'm working on and what I'm NOT working on. Am I working and focusing on the right things to take me to where I want to go? I was trying to find an explanation to why I could perform so well at Bitburger Open in September and then drop to this low level in October. Trough some long talks with Claus and a lot of thinking on my own side, we/I came up with a much clearer plan for what to focus on and what to 'forget' for a little while.

So now we're trying to adjust these things in my daily routines both on and off court. Theres lots of little things to work on, it will always be like that, even for a player of Lin Dans caliber. But some are more important than others and often the most important ones are often also the hardest to work on and change. I'm not gonna go into details about what it is exactly I'm working with, but I'm very focused on it in every training session I have and again Claus is there all the time to remind me.

This all means the losses has given me a better and more realistic picture of what path I need to go down if I want to achieve the goals I've set for myself. That's why I say I've come out of the period with a stronger mind. I feel I'm better prepared and more aware of myself now than I was before. That's about the only positive thing about losing - there is a lot to learn from it :-)

A couple of weeks after the French Open I managed to win my third title at the Norwegian International in Oslo. I'm very proud that I managed to defend my crown and I felt good playing there once again. But I also feel it was some kind of proof that I've moved on since the bad results and I'm ready to look forward to the next big challenges.

I will get another chance to prove that to myself this week as I'm going to Dublin for the Irish International on thursday. I will be the top-seed once again so the pressure is on me, but I know that if I can focus on the right things, like I did in Norway, I have a good chance of winning another title. But I will have to take it one match at the time and remember the proces all the time. I'm on the right path now, so I think it's a good idea to stay there :-)

The Irish International will not only be serious business for me this year. Along with Scott Evans and some other topplayers we will have an exhibition on the sunday evening a couple of hours after the final. All the profits from this exhibition will go directly to Solibad which is a non-profit humanitarian organisation. Their idea is a simple as to help others where help is needed. They don't do big life-changing projects, but just try to help in a way that maybe makes the days go by a little easier for someone with a troubled life. Solibad is raising funds through the badminton community and I'm proud to support them by playing with their logo on my shirts and now by doing this exhibition as well. I fully support them and I hope my small contribution can be felt in some way.

Along with Scott I've made a funny little promo-video for the exhibition. We tried to imitate a popular video made by tennis stars Roger Federer (the king) and Rafael Nadal (the crown prince, I hope your still reading Ms. 526!) and had lots of fun doing it. Check out the video here

If your interested in learning more about Solibad or maybe even give them a donation you should check out their website by clicking here.

That's it for now, I do feel much better now so mission accomplished :-) Hopefully it was worth a read for anyone out there...


Monday, 18 October 2010

Bring It On!

Hi all,

Finally it's time for another update on this blog. I'm sitting here in my couch thinking about the next three weeks where I have three big tournaments to play. Dutch, Denmark and French Open.

These tournaments are very important for my season 2010/2011. I’m currently ranked 34 in the world, just about 3000 points away from top 28, which is what I’m looking to improve to before the end of this year. So you’re probably thinking why top 28? Well it’s very simple really as 28 is the number of players who are automatically qualified for the main draw in the Super Series events. With Korea Open in January being the first of the new Premier Super Series tournament and offering a historic huge total prize pool of 1.2 million dollars, it’s quite obvious that this will be a high priority event for every top player in the world. As a result of this Malaysia Open the week prior will most likely be almost as strong and therefore avoiding having to go through some very tough qualification rounds is a big goal for me.

If we look a bit longer term my biggest goal for this season is to finally qualify for the World Championships in London 2011. If I do, it will be my first big individual championship and I feel like it’s about time for me now. To qualify I need to be top 24 by the start of May next year. To achieve that I need to earn some points and the best chance for me to do so, is by performing in the main rounds of the Super Series. So again; avoiding the qualifying rounds in January would be good.

Anyway enough talk about ranking and points. That was just to fill you all in on what’s the thought behind playing three big tournaments in a row. I can’t think too much about this in the coming weeks. I have to focus (and I am) on playing well and enjoy it, then the results will follow.

I feel like I’m playing at a high level at the moment, not fantastic, but still good enough to be confident. My movement is excellent, which is something I feel like have improved a lot over the summer and up until now. I don’t weigh as much as I used to and I feel like I have more explosive strength in my legs. My endurance is also very satisfying, so physically I can’t really complain.
The sharpness and quality of my shots, mostly from the back of the court, is not at its best though. Usually this is one of the stronger parts of my game, so I hope it will get better as the tournaments go on. Maybe I just need to get back into my “tournament rhythm”.

Mentally I feel relaxed and ready to go. I’m excited about competing again and even though I don’t feel as well prepared as I did before the Bitburger Open I’m still very happy with my preparations. It’s always good to know you’ve done your homework – nothing more could have been done and now it’s just about getting on court and give it my best.

Nothing will ever be perfect though, not ths preparation period either. Unfortunately I was struck by a little bad luck this morning in training. Ever since I had that infected toe which forced me to miss the Thomas Cup finals in May my nail has been a looking like somewhat of a rainbow in mostly dark colors. It’s hasn’t really given me any problems, but this morning during a drill on court I suddenly felt some pain in the very same toe. After a little while I chose to stop to have a look at it. When I took off my shoe I could quickly see that something wasn’t great as my sock was mostly red around the toe and I was quite confident it was white when I put in on this morning…

90% of the nail had apparently broken, but not enough to fall off and now it’s painful to wear shoes. The pain is bearable and the doctor gave me something to wrap around the toe to take away most of the pain. I think it will work out fine and no matter what it’s not going to keep me away from the Dutch, Danish and French courts, that’s a fact! Still a little annoying, but I also had a minor accident in one of my last trainings right before Bitburger Open and I did pretty well there. So maybe it’s a good sign! :)

I will travel to the Netherlands tomorrow afternoon, so my next update will be from Almere, Netherlands. You can find the draws and a lot more on their website:

That’s it for now, nothing left to say but; BRING IT ON! :)


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Exciting times!

Time for an update on what's been going on lately and how I'm doing. I promise you this blog won't be as long as the last one :-)

Feeling fit and going to England
I've had some time to settle down and relax after my succes at Bitburger Open, the crazy few days following with emergency landing, leaguematches and pain in my groin. I feel much better again and I'm training with great intensity and motivation at the moment. The injury in my groin was still troubling me last week, but finally all the visits at the physio has paid off as it now feel 100% normal again.

Having no naggering injuries feels great, obviously, and it comes at a good time as I've have long planned to go to Milton Keynes, England for a 3 day training stint this week. Kenneth Jonassen, who is now coaching the English mens singles has invited me over for some matchsparring with Rajiv Ouseph and Carl Baxter, who are both preparing for the Commonwealth Games. I'm really looking forward to it as I'm sure it will be great quality matches. It's good to play some different opponents than what I'm used to at the national centre here in Denmark. Apart from that I also know it has a positive effect on me to get away from the same daily enviroment.
Getting some "fresh air" and a feeling of I'm trying something different is motivational and therefore only healthy for me.
I will leave for England tomorrow (wednesday) morning and return home on friday evening.

A big change
As you might sense from reading the above I'm excited about going to Milton Keynes, but this is not the reason why I chose "Exciting times" as my headline for this blog.
I have just recently bought an apartment, which means I will soon move away from my parents home and into my own place. There's a few things in the apartment we need to fix before then and I'm not in a hurry to move in, but I can safely say I'm eagerly awaiting the first day where I wake up in my very own place. :-)
This is obviously going to be a big change for me as I will have to start cooking my own meals, doing my laundry and all the other everyday stuff. It might take a little while to adjust to "a new life" like that, but as I said, I'm really looking forward to it. It will be absolutely savage! :-)

I also have more news to share with you all, but it will have to wait for another time, now it's time for me to go do some physical training.

But before I go I just want to wish my friend and good competitor Petr Koukal a full and speedy recovery. He has unfortunaly been struck by some very bad luck recently and is now set to fight what can turn out to be a very bad tumour. Petr is one of the nicest guys on the curcuit and he for sure doesn't deserve this, but as we all know him, there is no doubt he is going to fight it and come back stronger than before.
You can read more about his bad luck here.
All the best Petr - hope to see you soon on court!

That will be it for now, but stay tuned on this site and also on my facebook fansite, where I will probably throw in a couple of updates from my stay in England.


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Second place and a crazy trip home!

I should warn you before you start reading this blog! It's going to be a loooong read... It's so long I myself couldn't even find the energy to read it through one more time and correct mistakes! So if I couldn't read it through how do I expect you to? Well honestly I don't, you are free to choose. But if you do choose to read it all anyway, please forgive me for mistypes, spelling mistakes or any other flaws...

Enough about that - here goes!

Bitburger Open

My last update was a few hours before my semifinal match at Bitburger Open against Petr Koukal. Most of you probably already knew, but by reading the headline it should be no surprise to any of you that I managed to beat him. As I described in my previous post it was a big match for both of us. This clearly affected the level of play especially in the beginning where we both struggled to find any rythm. But after the interval at 11 in the first set I found a way to settle down and from 12-13 in the first I went on the win the match 21-14 21-4. Clearly Koukal never got settled and even if I did feel like I was playing very well in the second, I think it was obvious to everyone watching that he never got confident and didn't play his best - far from it.

Still the victory was a great boost for me. I've been in situations before where I've delievered a great result, like I did in the quarterfinal beating Yu Li, just to completely fall apart in the very next round. It didn't happen this time and to be honest, this is actually what pleases me the most about this whole tournament. If I ever want to win anything major I will have to learn how to be consistent over the course of a full tournament. I have done it many times on the EBU-circuit, but never at this level. So beating Koukal easily that day was a great step forward for me.

In the final I was up against Chen Long from China, the current world no. 11. Going into the final I had a 1-0 head-to-head record against him and I felt confident. But unfortunately I couldn't capitalize on my opportunities in the beginning of the third set and he then soon ran away. He was also clever enough to change his tactics in the final set and I never really found a good way to respond, so I will just have to admit I lost to a player who was better on the day. A rather uneven final ended with the scores 21-3 12-21 21-9 for him.

Of course it was disappointing to lose the final, but losing is (unfortunately) part of this game. This is not the first time, nor the last, I've lost. And when you play players at Chen Long's standard the possibility of losing will always be there, even if your playing well. That's how it is at this level.
That being said, I would have loved to win and I didn't feel great right after the final. But looking back at it now, I can accept my loss.

I still had a great week and produced what is my best result so far, so I would be unfair to myself if I wasn't satisfied with the performance.

The crazy trip home

The finals at Bitburger were being played so late in the day that I had to change my flight back home to Denmark. I was meant to fly sunday evening, but couldn't get on a flight until monday morning. So I booked a room at a airport hotel and had a good rest there. I was obviously a bit tired after a long week in Saarbrücken with six tough matches and since I had to play a danish league match monday evening, getting some rest was quite important.

Unfortunately monday didn't really turn out to be a good day for me. It started with me feeling quite bad in my groin, which also troubled me all of last week in Germany. When I got out of bed it felt really stiff and a bit painful when I walked. It loosened up after a little while, but to say I was looking forward to play on it the same evening would be a lie. But I was hoping to get home quickly and get some more rest to make it even better before the match. This was obviously not going to happen though...

I was on a plane at 9.30 from Frankfurt monday morning. Normally the trip to Copenhagen would take only a little more than one hour, but this one turned out to be an eight-hour journey. Yes you read it correct, 8(!) hours it took me to get from Frankfurt to Copenhagen. So instead of arriving in Copenhagen before 11 o'clock I ended up not being there until 15.30! The reason for this long delay is rather dramatic...

When we boarded the plane in Frankfurt there was an odd smell in the cabin, nothing we really took notice of, but it slowly got worse. After flying for about 20 minutes it was pretty bad and it more and more smelled like firesmoke. So the captain announced that we would have to make a securitylanding in Hannover, Germany. At this point people in the plane were still quite calm, but this was soon going to change...

The flight felt like it was running smoothly so people didn't really feel all that scared even if the smell was getting really bad, but all of a sudden the oxygenmasks came down with no warning. I'm sure you can imagine that was pretty scary and panic is a pretty good word to describe the next 10 seconds. Then the aircrew announced that the oxygenmasks were only in case people found the smell troubling their breathing, so I chose not to wear the mask as I really do think it was a little over the top. But most people didn't even hear what the aircrew said as they were already in panic. This was a quite bizzare experience, but we got down to the ground safely where lots of ambulances and firetrucks were waiting, but fortunately not needed.

We then got off the plane and was driven in a bus to the departure gates where we had to wait for several hours for a new plane that could take the last bit of way to Copenhagen. Some people where still in shock, but most of the passengers had the same feeling as me (it seemed) that it wasn't really that dramatic even though it also hit the news here in Denmark.


Needless to say my plan of getting a lot of time to relax and get ready for the teammatch was not really working out for me :)

So when I finally arrived in Copenhagen I only had time to go home for a quick shower and a sandwhich before having to leave for the leaguematch. It was being played in Skælskør which is a one hour drive away, not exactly what I needed at this point, but what to do, there was no way out of it.

I arrived in the hall 50 minutes before the teammatch was about to kick off and 1 hour after my teammates. But as my singles was the last match to be played I had to wait another couple of hours before getting on court. When I finally did get on court I felt tired, powerless and had pain in my groin. No wonder really. My movement was hampered at best, but I really did not want to lose this match. I was playing a guy named Jeppe Lund, who's probably unknown to most of you, but he's not a bad player. Of course I was the big favourite, as I will be in all my leaguematches this year, but I knew I could not underestimate him.

Still he managed to win the first after some good play, but I still felt confident I would win if I just stuck to my gameplan. It worked out perfectly in the second and third set, right until the umpire made a very bad correction to a shot called out at 19-15 in the third. It should have been 20-15 and the win sealed more of less, but instead it got to 19-16 and my focus was off. I still managed to scrape home the win 21-19 and could finally see the end of a very long a tiring day. It wasn't pretty, but I didn't expect it to be. I was just happy to win, that was all I cared about.
We won the match 5-1 and therefore got a good start to the new season.

Round up and what's next?

So to round it all up, the last few days have been hectic for me. My groin is not feeling good after all this, but I'm looking after it and getting some treatment, so I really hope it won't bother me for too long. Today I have the day off training, I really need a day to fully relax and recover, but I still need to get back to training again tomorrow as I have another leaguematch to be played on thursday evening.

After that match I will take some very easy days, I might actually take the weekend off completely to recharge my batteries before starting another good long stint of hard training. I had a long period leading up to Bitburger Open with good and hard training, so it's important that I allow myself to slow down a little now.

My next big challenge will be three weeks in October/November where I play the Dutch, Denmark and French Opens. I will need to be in absolute top condition to perform well there, so getting some rest now will help me to be able to work harder leading up to those three tournaments.

That will be it for now, I'm impressed if there is still anyone reading at this point. To you I can only say thanks a lot and well done :)


Saturday, 4 September 2010

Going well...

It's fair to say it's going well for me here in Saarbrücken, Germany at the Bitburger Open 2010.

Yesterday I had a great win against Yi Lu from China who is a quality player, proven by the fact he won this tournament in 2007 and has many other great results. He used to be ranked around 20 in the world before China stopped sending him to any tournaments, so now he's trying to work his way back up. Fortunately I managed to stop his march towards top of the ranking yesterday in what was a splendid match.

I was fighting hard all the way through and tried to stick to my gameplan all the way, even when I was down in large parts of the first two sets. It wasn't easy to do though as I had to be really patient, which isn't exactly what I'm usually best at :) But yesterday it paid off and from being one set down and 15-12 down in the second I got in control of the match and played amazing from there on in. At 20-11 in the third set he played a few good points and I missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the match, so I got a little nervous (ok actually I got very nervous), but finally at 20-18 he made a mistake and I could celebrate a good win.

All this means I'm now in my first ever Grand Prix Gold semifinal. My opponent today will be a good friend of mine, Petr Koukal Czech no. 1. It's also his first semifinal at this level, so it's a big match for both of us. Making it to the final will be the best result ever for both of us, actually I think making the semifinal already is. So you can all imagine that we are both pretty exited about this match.

We have had a few good matches against each other before, the last time being in Swedish International back in January, where Petr came out on top of an epic 3-set battle. So today I will be looking for revenge, which is actually the third time in this tournament for me. The first two times I got it, so I might as well grap number 3 also ;)

The match will be played at 16.50 CET and can be streamed from the official tournament website.

I probably won't update this site again until tuesday or wednesday as I also have a teammatch to play when I return home on monday. But you can follow my progress and thoughts on my facebook fansite, where I post short quick updates.

That will be it for now, hoping to put in a great performance in a few hours.

Thanks for reading and supporting,