Ping pong, all gone, as hosts bring nothing to the table

The Danish results were mixed as Odense and Herning played host to several sports events over the weekend

He may have been crowned European champion in 2009, but Michael Maze’s first round defeat completed a dour opening day for the hosts at the 2012 European Table Tennis Championships in Herning. Maze surprisingly lost to Austrian qualifier Stefan Fegerl in the first round 2-4 in sets.

No other Danes progressed past the opening round. The women’s number one, Mie Skov, the world number 79, also failed miserably, losing in four straight sets to Italy’s Nikoleta Stefanova, who is ranked 122 in the world, completing a Danish nightmare in Herning.

The only consolation for the Danes was that the future looks bright after two young boys, Claus Nielsen, 16, and Anders Lind, who is only 13, made their Danish debuts.

German Timo Boll ended up winning the men’s singles for the sixth time, while Viktoria Pavlovich from Belarus won the women’s singles for the second time.

The news was better in Odense as several Danes took part in badminton’s esteemed 2012 Yonex Denmark Open. While no Danes reached the finals, the lively crowd was treated to some stunning badminton featuring some nerve-wracking finishes.

Jan Ø Jørgensen in particular gave the home fans something to shout about, reaching the semi-finals before falling admirably to the Malaysian world number one, and eventual men’s singles winner, Lee Chong Wei in two tough sets, 20-22, 15-21. Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen also managed to reach the semis, but they lost to a Malaysian pair in a gruelling marathon of a match, 21-19, 11-21, 24-26.

And while Danish legend Peter Gade disappointingly lost early on in the tournament, there will be one last time that fans can catch him in action before he retires, as he is expected to take part in the Copenhagen Masters in December along with his perennial nemesis, Lin Dan from China. The tournament will be played from December 27-28.

But Odense wasn’t finished hosting events as the city was also the scene of the Western European League World Cup Qualifiers in dressage. The Dutch were in scintillating form over the weekend, with Adelinde Cornelissen winning the Grand Prix Freestyle with a record score of 88.175 while Edward Gal came second with 80.650. But there was delight for the Danes as well with Anna Kasprzak coming third with 77.825 and Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, the niece of the queen, fourth with a score of 77.600.

In the overall Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage 2012/2013 standings after Round 1, Kasprzak sits in eighth with 17 points and zu Sayn-Wittgenstein is 12th with 15 points. Switzerland’s Marcela Krinke Susmelj leads with 30 points.

The top nine qualify for the World Cup, which will take place in the spring.


(Photo: scanpix/Claus Fisker)Factfile | Mie Skov, girl wonder

Born: 24 May 1986
Occupation: Studies Law at Copenhagen University
Clubs: Kremlin-Bicetre (France) and Vedbæk (DK)
Mie Skov is Denmark’s top women’s player. She is currently ranked number 79 in the world and is the top women’s table tennis player in Scandinavia. Among her many merits, Skov has won the Danish championships 17 times and has participated in nine World Cups and eight European Championships, as well as the recent 2012 London Olympics. Skov is a class above the rest of the women’s competition in Denmark, to the extent that in preparation for the European Championships in Herning, she played in the top men’s championship league.


(Photo: scanpix/Claus Fisker)

Factfile | Anders Lind, boy wonder

Born: 14 December 1998
Occupation: Attends 8th grade at Rudersdal Lilleskole
Club: Copenhagen Table Tennis Club
The son of two avid table tennis players, Anders Lind is a 13-year-old prodigy who was the youngest participant at the 2012 European Table Tennis Championships in Herning. His failure to progress past the qualification rounds is a mere blip on what has been a glittering career thus far. Aged just ten, he won an under-16s tournament in Belgium, and so far this year, he has reached three semi-finals in various European youth tournaments. He is currently ranked second in Europe in the under-15 age group.

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