Danish duo's big day

The sight of Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl kissing the court and erupting into wild celebrations at the end of the mixed doubles final was understandable, for the seventh-seeded Danish duo had breached the ‘Chinese Wall’ by winning the mixed doubles gold, thereby denying China a clean sweep of the titles at the BWF World Championships.

Thomas and Kamilla won the title in style — they first defeated third-seeded Zheng Bo and Ma Jin of China 22-20, 11-21, 22-20 in the quarterfinals, then put it across the reigning Olympic champions and top seeds, Lee Yong Dae and Lee Hyo Jung (Korea) 18-21, 21-9, 21-18 in 60 minutes in the semifinals before shocking the two-time world champions and second seeds, Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir (Indonesia), 21-13, 21-17 in the final in 38 minutes.

What is unique about the Danish duo is that Thomas plays at the net while Kamilla goes for the big smashes from the centre. “It will be stupid for me not to have Thomas at the net where he is simply so brilliant,” quipped Kamilla.

Thomas is clearly enjoying his role as the two complement each other wonderfully well. The two won the first gold for their country in a World Championship after a gap of six years. The last Danish pair to do so was Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, who were seeded No. 4 in Hyderabad.

What is the secret behind the success of Thomas and Kamilla?

“We have a terrific understanding. We know our roles pretty well. Importantly, right from the start, we just decided to be calm, relaxed and not to think too much about the very tough draw. We waited for the opponents to make mistakes,” explained Thomas.

“This is the biggest win of our career. Honestly we never expected this. We would cherish every moment of this for a long, long time to come,” said Thomas. “We sincerely believe this gold will give the much needed impetus to the sport in Europe, and especially in Denmark,” he added.

The women’s doubles too saw a major upset with eighth-seeded Zhang Yawen and Zhao Tingting shocking second-seeded Cheng Shu and Zhao Yunlei in the final.

Quite fittingly, one of the most thrilling encounters was the men’s doubles final, which was the last of the championship. Reigning All England champions and fifth-seeded Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng of China edged out a fighting fourth-seeded Korean duo of Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae to regain the title they had won in 2006.