Sport Round-Up: Women’s ice hockey team qualify for next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing

Experience could give the ladies good experience ahead of hosting the world championship later next year

During the 4-0 thrashing of Italy (photo: Danmarks Ishockey Union Facebook page)
November 17th, 2021 11:51 am| by Marius Rolland
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By topping their qualifying group, the Danish women’s ice hockey team have qualified for the Winter Olympics in Beijing next February. 

But it nearly ended in misery against Germany in their final group game, from which they only needed a point.

Miracle on ice
A 4-0 trouncing of Italy and 1-0 win against Austria put the Danes in pole position to qualify, but defeat would have sent the Austrians or Germans through instead, and the Germans were leading 2-1 deep in the third period.

But then the Danish ladies had their very own miracle on ice: first a deflection off a German player to make it 2-2 and then a German shot in the final minute that left the Danish bar shaking.

Incredible emotions
Overtime guaranteed the Danes the point they needed, so the eventual 2-3 loss in the shootout was of no importance.

“It was crazy. Everyone was very loud, crying and shouting. I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” 19-year-old defender Sofie Skott Dahl told the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Double debut
Not only is this the first time that the Danish women have qualified for the Olympic ice hockey – the inaugural tournament was held in 1998 – but they will be joined by the men.

In August, the men’s team also qualified, again for the first time in their history. 

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Denmark to host Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships next year
The Danish Ice Hockey Union (UDI) has confirmed that Denmark will host the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships from 26 August to 4 September 2022. Herning in central Jutland will provide the main arena, and all Group A matches and the finals will be played there. The venue for the Group B matches has not yet been confirmed. “This is the culmination of the excellent work done with the team, both in terms of sport and organisation,” said Henrik Bach Nielsen, the president of the UDI. Denmark will be in Group B.

A promising start after a long wait for NHL debutant
Jonas Røndbjerg, 22 scored his first ever NHL goal to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Røndbjerg, who this season became the 15th Dane to play in the NHL, opened the scoring with a superb goal and made several dazzling solo runs. Røndbjerg joined the club in 2019, but had to wait until this season for his debut. So far it is one plagued by losses and injuries for the Golden Knights. 

End of an era as midfielder retires from women’s national team
Midfielder Nanna Christiansen has retired from the national team. Brøndby’s all-time leading scorer made her debut for the national team at the Algarve Cup in 2009. After 112 matches in 12 years, she said she was “proud of my long career, because I’ve been able to do it despite my diabetes”. Christiansen will therefore miss Denmark’s crunch game against Russia on November 30, from which star player Pernille Harder is already missing. Failure to win could derail Denmark’s campaign, as the Russians also have a perfect record from their first four games.

Danish youth shine in Germany
On Sunday, Danish youngster Zidan Sertdemir made his debut at the age of 16 years and 276 days for German club Bayer Leverkusen against Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga. He is the youngest player in the club’s history, and the second youngest in Bundesliga history. The former FC Nordsjælland forward came on in the 86th minute. 

Fantastic Four for Danes on European Tour
Golfer Joachim B Hansen, 31, won the Dubai Championship over the weekend – his second European Tour victory following the Joburg Open last November. He is the fourth Dane to win on the European Tour since August, after Rasmus Højgaard in Scotland, Nicolai Højgaard in Italy and Jeff Winther in Mallorca. Meanwhile, yesterday’s man Thorbjørn Olesen took eighth place in Dubai.

Unbeaten Dina triumphs again
Dina Thorslund defended her world bantamweight title on Saturday night. Fighting on home turf in Kolding, she beat 34-year-old Zulina Muñoz of Mexico. The undefeated Dane duly recorded her 17th consecutive victory after sending her opponent to the mat in the seventh round.

Title defence takes kickboxer 90 seconds
Light middleweight kickboxing world champion Youssef Assouik, 26, retained his title on Saturday with a KO against France’s Karim Guettaf in front of 1,200 spectators at Frederiksberg Hallen. It was an event he himself organised. In total, it took Assouik just 90 seconds to pull off his sixth title defence.

Mørkøv’s coronation
Cyclingnews has named Michael Mørkøv as one of its eight ‘Invisible Heroes’. However, although the award chiefly recognises the 36-year-old’s tireless support cycling for Quick Step, 2021 has been a stellar year for the Dane, as he won both Olympic and World Championship gold in the madison. “The Danish veteran has become so good at his job that the world’s fastest sprinters are often on his wheel,” said Mørkøv.

Herning to host more handball intensity
The Danish Handball Federation (DHF) has confirmed that the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning will host Denmark’s matches in the Women’s Handball World Championship in 2023, as well as the final and other games. The arena previously hosted games in the Men’s Handball World Championships in 2019 and the women’s event in 2015. “We continue to strive to attract major events to Herning for the enjoyment and benefit of our city, our business community and our citizens,” explains the mayor, Dorte West, to TV2.

Axelsen favourite to be named player of the year
Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen, respectively ranked number two and three in the world, have been nominated by the Badminton World Federation for the Best Men’s Singles Player award. After winning All England and Olympic gold this summer, Axelsen is considered to be the favourite. The winner will be crowned in Bali this week.

Rise of Rune continues
Holger Rune has won his fourth career Challenger title: this time a tournament in Bergamo in which he beat the world number 158, Turkey’s Cem Ilkel, 7-5, 7-6 in the final. Rune was 473rd in the rankings at the beginning of the year, but now stands at number 108. 

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