Technique wasn’t the focus in the first years playing badminton in Denmark. The players didn’t really know the game yet or how to play it properly so young talented players weren’t something you saw in Denmark in the beginning. The lack of knowledge about the game made it difficult to produce a group of young players with talented skills, but visits from foreign teams – like The Strollers from Ireland – helped this situation and helped the process of development in the right direction.
In the mid 1930s we saw the first Danish talents develop. Their technique combined with mobility placed them as some of the best players in the country at that time. But the group of young players weren’t very big so it took time to organize tournaments for them – also taking the geographical distances into consideration. It was very expensive and almost unseen to travel across The Great Belt to participate in tournaments but never the less the first National Championships in men’s singles for players under 18 were played in 1933 and women’s singles followed in 1934.
Since these early years of the National Championships for young players it has developed quickly introducing National Championships for players under 16 in 1942 and under 14 in 1961. Still, the events at that time were men’s and women’s singles but in 1967 the doubles events were introduced for the eldest age groups. In 1975 the National Championships for players under 12 were introduced and completed the list of National Championships for young players.
In the 1996/97 season the Badminton Association of Denmark (BAD) changed their age categories to Under 13, 15, 17 and 19. Later the categories of players Under 9 and 11 have been introduced so the youngest players and beginners got a possibility of meeting their matches.
One of the main reasons for the international success Danish players have achieved since the game was introduced in Denmark is the hard work with the young players done by all the clubs and the 8 districts. The players have their first experience with badminton in the clubs – some just keep playing for fun and/or the exercise while others show such great talent that they are willing to train more, harder and more determined. The best players in each age category will be included in BAD’s different groups for young players hoping to be the next Tine Rasmussen or Peter Gade.
Trough out the year there are several Grand Prix tournaments and every autumn holiday since 1984 Danish Junior Cup has been played. It’s a tournament where foreign players also participate first in a team and then an individual tournament and it has given the BAD a good reputation among other badminton associations in Europe.
Danish Junior Cup could celebrate a fantastic 25th anniversary in October 2009.
To become one of the best players in the world is difficult and require lots of hard work and determination. New Danish talents are on their way to concur the top positions on the World Ranking lists - wait and see.