Badminton has seen many greats from the land of Danes, but few have achieved remarkable success at a young age. Among them is Viktor Axelsen, a trailblazer who has etched his name in the victorious records of badminton history.
Viktor Axelsen captured the world’s attention when he won a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. But it wasn’t merely the medal that caught the world’s eye; it was the extraordinary feat he accomplished in the process. Axelsen fearlessly faced off against the mighty Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic badminton champion. He toppled the legend and claimed his place on the podium.
Since then, Axelsen’s ascent to greatness has been nothing short of meteoric. In 2017, he ascended to the pinnacle of the sport, becoming the world’s no.1 badminton champion. The coveted All England Open title followed in 2020, further cementing his status as a badminton virtuoso.
Axelsen grew his collection of world tour titles and medals with each victory and stroke of brilliance. But Viktor Axelsen’s journey is more than just a series of achievements; it is a testament to the human spirit’s limitless potential.
In this blog post, we delve deeper into the enigma that is Viktor Axelsen, uncovering the moments that shaped his remarkable career. We will also explore the lasting impact he has had on the badminton world.
How Viktor Akelsen rose to become one of the world’s best badminton players
Born in January 1994 in Odense, Denmark, Viktor Axelsen has represented his nation for over 14 years. And with a string of impressive victories under his belt, he has won the hearts of fans worldwide.
As of July 18, 2023, he is the World’s no. 1 badminton player (Men’s Singles) in the BWF World Rankings.
Viktor Axelsen’s journey from a young prodigy to one of the top badminton players in the world is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Let’s explore how it all began.
The Early Stages
Viktor Axelsen’s journey into the world of badminton was nurtured by his father, Henrik Axelsen. He introduced him to the sport at the tender age of 6. Henrik owned a small advertising agency before becoming his son’s manager full-time. And together with Gitte Axelsen (Axelsen’s mother), Henrik provided the foundation for a remarkable career for Viktor Axelsen.
Axelsen’s dedication to the game started to take shape when he was 8, as he delved into competitive badminton. His skills and passion blossomed at the Odense badminton club. Here, he underwent formal training that would lay the groundwork for greatness. Even at such a young age, his talent was undeniable. Axelsen earned the prestigious Player of the Year award from the Odense badminton club in 2004.
Viktor Axelsen Badminton Triumphs
The career breakthrough for Viktor Axelsen happened in 2006 when he clinched the National Junior Badminton Championships titles. And in 2009, the world took notice as he claimed his first junior title internationally at the German Junior tournament. Then came the resounding victory at the European U-17 Badminton Championships in Slovenia.
Viktor’s presence on the court grew mightier with each stride he took. His stellar performance in the 2009 Denmark Open marked his arrival in senior international tournaments, and there was no looking back from there. The trophies kept pouring in as he claimed his first title at the International Challenge series in 2010. In 2011, he secured a Bronze in the prestigious European Badminton Championships and also won the Junior European Champion title.
Viktor Axelsen secured five consecutive titles during the European Men’s Team Badminton Championships between 2012 and 2020. His dedication and skill also led the Denmark team to victory during the mixed doubles. In 2013, Axelsen achieved a remarkable feat, securing the Bronze medal during the Sudirman Cup held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Undeterred by the challenges, Viktor’s hunger for success remained insatiable. He dominated the European Mixed Team Badminton Championships, collecting four titles consecutively (2015, 2017, 2019, 2021). He also won a Silver in 2013.
Then, of course, there was the Olympic victory of 2021. Viktor Axelsen has also won BWF World Badminton Championship titles thrice – 2014 (bronze), 2017 (gold), and 2022 (gold).
Viktor Axelsen’s rise to glory is a testament to sheer talent, unwavering dedication, and the undying spirit of a true champion. His journey has inspired millions of badminton players worldwide.
His influence on the sport
Denmark has seen its fair share of famous badminton players over the years, who have left an everlasting impact on the sport. The country boasts a rich history of champions from Tage Madsen and Kirsten Thorndahl to the iconic Erland Kops.
But even among these celebrated names, there lingered regrets and missed opportunities. There were high-stakes finals where expectations were dashed. Sometimes, chances slipped through their grasp. They had great successes, of course, but there were times when they were expected to win but didn’t. One or two major titles always seemed just out of reach.
And then came Viktor Axelsen.
Viktor stands out from the rest for one simple but incredible reason: he has won everything there is to win in badminton. Every major title that eluded those before him, he managed to clinch. He’s the first Dane to have done it all. And in doing so, he has deeply impacted the world of badminton.
Earlier this year, Malaysian shuttler Lee Zii Jia revealed in an interview that he honed his skills by closely observing and learning from Viktor Axelsen’s game. He said –
“My idol is also Viktor Axelsen because I watch his gameplay many times, and I love the way he plays.”
Viktor Axelsen’s achievements serve as a beacon for other players. It proves it’s possible to rise to the very top and seize every title along the way.
His inspiring story of hard work and dedication
Since Lin Dan’s retirement in 2020, people have wondered who could be the best badminton player ever. Many have tried to match Lin Dan’s badminton prowess, but few have come close. Only one name stands out as a potential successor – Viktor Axelsen. With a remarkable career and a trail of success, Axelsen is all set to become one of badminton’s all-time greats. In fact, many already consider him to be a legend.
In a recent interview, when he was asked about his other-worldly performance on the court, he said –
“Coming from another planet? It’s a fun statement. I can tell you that I am from this world, coming from this planet. How can I say… I see it as people believing in me, and they think that I’m a good player and it gives me a lot of motivation,”
It really does make us wonder – What makes Axelsen’s current performance so exceptional? From the outset, it was evident that Axelsen possessed a rare combination of physical athleticism and mental fortitude. He trained relentlessly, honing his skills and pushing his boundaries to reach new heights. His coaches and peers noticed his determination and hunger for improvement, which propelled him forward in the competitive world of badminton.
Danish badminton player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, has closely witnessed Axelsen’s progress over a significant period. In a recent interview, he stated that Axelsen’s physical aspect of the game had improved markedly. As a result, it has become increasingly challenging to unsettle him.
Viktor Axelsen may not be the fittest compared to other players, given his history of injuries and health concerns. But, when it comes to seizing opportunities in the game though, Axelsen is the perfect example. He consistently performs exceptionally well when it matters most. Like any journey toward greatness, Axelsen faced challenges and setbacks along the way. But he refused to be deterred. Instead, he used these experiences as motivation to push harder, train smarter, and improve his game further.
Dealing with the pressures of the game
Viktor Axelsen is at the peak of his career, a position that inevitably comes with immense pressure and expectations. Winning the Olympic gold in 2021 was undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, but it took a toll on him mentally. The badminton champion admits feeling drained due to the media frenzy that followed such a significant victory. He shared it left him emotionally depleted despite feeling physically fit.
Then, there was the setback he faced with a surprising defeat at the 2021 World Championships. This defeat raised questions about his resilience. Axelsen acknowledges his own humanity and understands that pressure is a part of the game. With experience, he has learned to handle it better, navigating through tough times in the best possible manner.
Axelsen emphasises the importance of “grit” in achieving success. He believes in giving his all in every training session and competition. While he acknowledges the role of talent and favourable circumstances, he never takes his current position for granted. Instead, he remains committed to maximising his potential and creating opportunities to succeed in every challenge he encounters.
Viktor Axelsen impact on the next generation of badminton players
Viktor Axelsen is one of the most famous badminton players today. But, rankings held little significance for him. This is what he shared in an interview a few years ago. Having secured numerous titles, the world badminton champion is now focusing on the finer details and consistent improvement.
Axelsen’s ultimate aspiration is to unlock his full potential on and off the court. Becoming the best version of himself as a player and as a person. He says that he is committed to taking each day as it comes, dedicating himself to constant growth and progress. Despite his success, he firmly believes there is room for improvement.
It’s no wonder how he has become a role model and inspiration for the next generation of badminton players. As a charismatic figure both on and off the court, Axelsen’s sportsmanship and humble demeanour have inspired millions. His ability to handle success and setbacks gracefully and resiliently is a valuable lesson for budding players. It teaches them the importance of staying grounded and composed under pressure.
Many young players look up to Axelsen not only for his accomplishments but also for the values he embodies. From discipline and hard work to sportsmanship and humility, he exemplifies the qualities that define a true champion.
When all is said and done, Viktor Axelsen stands unrivalled as an absolute titan in the world of badminton today. His passion and dedication for the sport is palpably contagious. So, it’s not surprising how he has emerged as an aspirational figure for the next generation to look up to.
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