An intense opening day of the badminton event at the European Games 2023 closes as players already eye important wins to secure in the remaining days of the Group Stage.
One of the standout matches featured a face-off between Kalle Koljonen and Felix Burestedt, who have practised together and met in competitions for many years. Their deep familiarity with each other’s playing style transformed the match into a physical showdown. Ultimately, Koljonen triumphed over Burestedt, 20-22, 23-21, 21-12.
Reflecting on his recent achievements, Koljonen credited his consistency, remarking, “In the last six months I have found the thing that I had been lacking, and that’s consistency. I have always been like a rollercoaster in the matches so now, somehow, something has clicked. I have found more consistency. I’m more physical on the court so I don’t get so tired anymore.”
With two more matches remaining in the group stage, Koljonen prepares to face Türkiye’s Emre Lale and Dane Anders Antonsen, the reigning European Games champion. Embracing the role of the underdog, Koljonen expressed his desire to maintain his current form, stating, “I like to be the underdog, a bit unpredictable in that way.”
It was a good first day for the Popov brothers. Toma Junior and Christo secured victories in their respective men’s singles matches. In the men’s doubles, playing together, the French pair faced a tough challenge from Milosz Bochat and Robert Cybulski, who enjoyed the home advantage. The French still got to fight back to take the win, 21-13, 16-21, 21-14.
Team GB’s Alexander Dunn and Adam Hall, and Czech Republic’s Ondřej Král and Adam Mendrek are the other two strong duos in their team. Toma Junior Popov has a clear idea of their goal for the week. “We go for the win. Even if we know we’re not the favourites, we go 100% to win as in every tournament. We are underdogs so we just go and play. We’ll fight.”
The second day of the Group Stage is scheduled to commence tomorrow at 09.30am (CEST). To catch all the live action, tune in to EuropeanGames.tv.