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Juhl and Pedersen eyeing World gold to make up for Olympic miss

By Katie Falkingham, Sportsbeat

The gold medal may have evaded their grasp at the Rio Olympic Games, but there’s no doubting the confidence of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen ahead of the Total BWF World Championships in Glasgow.

The Danish women’s doubles pair lost out in three sets to Japan’s Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the final in Brazil, taking home the silver medal.

It matched the medal they won at the previous edition of the World Championships in Jakarta the year before, to add to the bronze they sealed in Guangzhou in 2013.

And while Juhl is no stranger to the top spot of the podium having won mixed doubles World gold with Thomas Laybourn in 2009, she is yet to reach the pinnacle with Pedersen.

But perhaps the time has come for that to change – after all, they are in the form of their life having won the European title in April of this year.

Yet despite their upturn in fortunes, the Danes are determined not to look too far ahead.            

“We look forward to the World Championships so much. It’s always exciting to play the big championships, so of course we get excited for it,” said Juhl.

“A gold medal would be really great. Of course, we always have dreams when we go to big championships, but again we are also aware that we are up against a lot of really good Asian pairs.

“Our aim is to perform well and then we just have to see if it’s enough.

“We are actually a bit surprised that we are playing so well. We thought that after the Olympics maybe our level would go down a little bit, but it just keeps improving, so that’s of course a nice surprise for us.

“It’s like we have found out how to manage all the Asian pairs so that’s a really nice thing and we just really enjoy playing badminton at the moment.”

At 33 and 31 respectively, Juhl and Pedersen are in the latter years of their careers, but they feel that they are in the form of their lives.

They didn’t rest after winning silver in Rio, preferring to continue while they were ahead, and they insist it was well worth the hard work.

“We didn’t have a break after Rio. We only had one week right afterwards, but it was full of receptions and celebrations, so it wasn’t really much of a break,” she added.

“After the Olympics, we discussed that it was important for us not to feel sorry for ourselves when we go to a tournament.

“We wanted to be tough and really show that the medal was not a one-time result for us. That’s why we can keep improving, I think.

“We just love to play together. We have played together since 2010 and it seems we know each other better on court and we enjoy playing.

“That’s also why you see us smiling a lot when we play because we really enjoy it.

“It has absolutely been the best year for us since we started playing together. It’s a bit of a surprise for us because normally at our age, we shouldn’t be playing our best badminton ever, so that’s fun and we just enjoy it.”

The TOTAL BWF World Championships 2017 will be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August.

It is being delivered by BADMINTONscotland in partnership with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council and with funding support from EventScotland and The National Lottery through UK Sport.

Tickets available at www.glasgow2017.com/tickets