Sport Round-Up: Bikini girls score impressive off-court victory against Qatari government

Equally eye-catching, although hardly a celebration worthy of International Women’s Day, has been rising Danish basketball star Gabriel ‘Iffe’ Lundberg at reigning Euroleague champions CSKA Moscow

For Cecilie Køllner Olsen and her playing partner Sofia Bisgaard, it will be a long flight home after they were eliminated in the Katara Cup on Monday morning by a Swiss pairing.

But off-court they are champions after standing up to the government of the host nation, Qatar, which was forced to reverse its ban on competitors playing in bikinis.

Confused? Well the answer to this, and a spathe of trivia questions over the years, is that Olsen and Bisgaard are the Danish champions at beach volleyball.

Resisting the world federation too
The pair stood up to a request made by the International Volleyball Federation that all participants should cover up out of respect to Qatari sensibilities, backing the withdrawal of a German pairing with a pledge to also boycott.

“We won’t play until women can play in what they want, whether it is small or large-sized, in Qatar and anywhere else,” Køllner wrote on Facebook.

“We hope the example in Qatar can strike a blow so that there should be no restrictions on clothing for women.”

Their victory fittingly came on International Women’s Day.

Danish basketball star now at one of Europe’s leading clubs
Gabriel ‘Iffe’ Lundberg, one of Denmark’s best basketball players, has joined the reigning Euroleague champions CSKA Moscow. Lundberg – who missed out on Denmark’s narrow 76-77 defeat to Lithuania two weeks ago despite leading 60-58 heading into the final quarter, which cost the country a place at the 2022 EuroBasket – swapped Polish outfit Zielona Góra for Russia’s top club, and he ended up scoring 13 points on his debut  against Olympiakos on February 25, and then 12 points against Maccabi Tel Aviv five days later. At 193 cm tall, the 26-year-old guard began his career at Copenhagen Wolfpack before eventually moving to Poland last year. Long-term he hopes to play in the NBA. “There is more exposure playing for the best team in Europe than there is in playing for a team in Poland,” Lundberg told DR.

Viktor continues amazing year with yet another tournament victory
Viktor Axelsen, the world number two in badminton, can’t stop winning tournaments this year. His victory in the Swiss Open over the weekend, in which he beat Kunlavut Vitidsarn in straight sets in the final, was his third triumph of 2021, and that’s not including his contribution to Denmark recently winning the European Mixed Badminton Championship. In fact, he has only dropped three sets so far this year, although he did lose a match in a final in Bangkok. Next up for Axelsen is All England, where he is (surprise, surprise) the defending champ.

Brøndby top of Superliga following VAR-assisted win and surprise FCM loss
Brøndby beat FC Copenhagen 2-1 at home in the Superliga yesterday, but had VAR to thank for a couple of crucial decisions in a game that ended up having eight minutes of injury time. At 1-0 heading into the final ten minutes, VAR was consulted to rule out a FCK equaliser, before being used to award Brøndby a penalty, which was duly converted. A late FCK goal ended up being in vain. The win put Brøndby top of the table and there they stayed following FCM’s surprise 0-1 home loss to AGF, which has overtaken FCK to go third.

Bronze within reach for fastest Dane over 60 metres
Kojo Musah finished last in the final of the 60 metres at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland. His finishing time of 6.68 was 0.05 slower than his effort in the semis. Had he equalled his Danish record of 6.61, he could have taken bronze. Long-term, Musah dreams of becoming the first Dane to make the final of the Olympic 100 metres since Leo Jørgensen in 1928. Meanwhile, Astrid Glenner-Frandsen set a new Danish record of 7.32 seconds in the semis of the women’s event, but missed out on a place in the final.

Danish eyes on male equivalent of Nadia Nadim
Vejle Boldklub forward Wahid Faghir may only be 17 but he already has two countries fighting over his international allegiance: his current home Denmark and Afghanistan, the birthplace of both his parents. Faghir has already represented Denmark for several youth teams, including the under-18s, but that has not stopped Afghanistan from enquiring. Should Faghir, who has scored five Superliga goals this season, end up representing the Danish national team, he will be following in the same path as women’s player Nadia Nadim.

Stepping down as chair of FCK owner
Bo Rygaard is stepping down as chair of Parken Sport & Entertainment, the company that owns FC Copenhagen, after six years in charge. He will formally resign on April 19, but continue as an advisor to the company. One of Rygaard’s last contributions to the club was decisively voting for the dismissal of coach Ståle Solbakken – a departure that has not been popular with fans.

World champ lining up 2022 move in Germany
Johan Hansen, a member of Denmark’s victorious team at the 2021 World Handball Championship, is reportedly swapping Hannover-Burgdorf for another German outfit, Flensburg-Handewitt, in 2022. It is believed that the 26-year-old right wing is being lined up to replace his outgoing national team-mate Lasse Svan, who is now 37.

Dane wins Belgian semi-classic race in sprint finish
Mads Pedersen won the Belgian semi-classic race Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in a sprint finish on Sunday. Several other Danes, including defending champion Kasper Asgreen and Søren Kragh Andersen, were also in contention.

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