Sports News in Brief: Mikkel Hansen voted player of the year for third time

Elsewhere, there were Danish triumphs in cycling and tennis, and Magnussen has got off to a hot start in the F1 season

Denmark handball king Mikkel Hansen can add another accolade to his impressive repertoire after being named the world handball player of the year by the IHF for 2018.

The Dane, who won the World Championships with Denmark earlier this year, joins Frenchman and club teammate Nikola Karabatic as the only players to win the coveted award for a third time.

READ MORE: The triple Olympic medallist who invented handball and the forerunner to CPR

Mikkel and Anja
Hansen also won it in 2011 and 2015 and is the only Danish man to ever win the award.

Legendary player Anja Andersen, who led Denmark to Olympic, World and Euro titles from 1994-1997, won it for the women in 1997.

Romania’s Cristina Neagu won the women’s title for the third time in a row and fourth time overall.

Fulgsang wins in Italy
Danish cyclist Jakob Fuglsang secured one of the top triumphs of his career on Sunday when he won the fifth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race in Italy. The Astana rider now sits third in the overall standings, just 35 seconds behind current leader Adam Yates. Fuglsang’s biggest triumph so far probably came in 2017 when he won two stages and the overall title at the Critérium du Dauphine. Often hailed as Denmark’s best overall rider, Fuglsang has yet to translate his success into big races such as the Tour de France.

Tauson shoots up the rankings
Clara Tauson continued her impressive rise in women’s tennis by winning the 2019 Shenzhen Open over the weekend to power up the WTA rankings. Excluding a defeat in the Fed Cup in February, the 16-year-old has won her last 22 contests – a run that also includes the Australian Open for juniors in January and the Monsatir Open in Tunisia, another senior circuit win, in early March. The wins have propelled her up to number 407 in the WTA world rankings.

Denmark taking part in 2019 eNations Cup
The Danish eSport football team will be among the 20 nations participating in the inaugural FIFA eNations Cup in London in April. Two yet-to-be-named players will represent Denmark at the tournament, where each match is decided over three rounds: one on Playstation, another on Xbox and a third involving a two-versus-two on one of the platforms. The tournament will include group games after which the top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage.

Magnussen off to hot start
Danish Formula 1 racer Kevin Magnussen enjoyed a strong start to the 2019 F1 season thanks to a sixth-place finish at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday. The Haas racer started the race in seventh, but passed teammate Romain Grosjean on the first turn and held off Nico Hülkenberg to secure eight points in the driver standings. Grosjean had a torrid go of it and ended up having to call it quits. Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas took the checkered flag ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Drama in the Superliga
The initial stage of the Superliga came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday with six teams in the hunt to finish in positions fourth, fifth and sixth, thus qualifying for the championship playoff. Superliga leaders FC Copenhagen, FC Midtjylland and OB Odense had already claimed the top three spots before Sunday, and a tight league meant that Brøndby, Esbjerg, FC Nordsjælland, Randers, AaB Aalborg and AGF Aarhus could all make the top six and avoid playing in the relegation playoff. In the end, it made for very exciting day as Brøndby, Esbjerg and FCN secured wins to put them through. The most dramatic moment came in the Esbjerg-Vejle game, where a monstrous goalkeeping error in injury time gave Esbjerg the goal they needed and doomed AaB to the relegation playoff. Check out the incident in the video below.