Viktor Axelsen fulfilled a ‘dream come true’ as he romped to an imperious first Yonex All England title.
The Great Dane was in scintillating form under the Arena Birmingham lights, breezing past No.1 seed Chou Tien-chen 21-13 21-14 to make amends for his defeat against Kento Momota in the final last year.
The world No.7 - seeded second in the competition after his brilliant form this year - was at his powerful best as the Taiwanese world No.2 could do nothing to suppress his dominance all over the court.
And 26-year-old Axelsen, who also stormed to Barcelona Masters glory last month, branded it a super Sunday he would never forget.
“This means a lot to me - it is a big, big, big dream come true and it’s up there with all my biggest achievements in my career so far,” he said.
“Obviously right now I’m both happy and really emotional - it’s just crazy.
“I don’t really want to rank all my achievements, but this is up there with my biggest achievements - it’s a day I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
“I’m an emotional guy - if you’re not happy and get cheered up by winning the Yonex All England in front of this amazing crowd, then you’re never going to be.
“I think I felt good coming into the match, and getting a good start was pretty important here, especially in the final - that was always going to play a big part in the game.
“I had good legs, and I just don’t know what to say.
“I want to thank the crowd so much for all their support this week, both here at the arena and on social media.”
Axelsen has been in searing form on the BWF World Tour circuit this season, finishing second at the Malaysia Masters in addition to his hegemony in Spain.
But his Yonex All England victory represented his maiden tournament win in a Super 1000 event, capping off a stunning rise that has seen him emerge from the depths of Odense - his home city in Denmark.
In lifting the trophy Axelsen became the first Danish player to do so since Peter Gade back in 1999, ending a 21-year wait and joining an illustrious list of Scandinavian players who have been crowned king of Birmingham including Morten Frost, Erland Kops and Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen.
And after triumphing on a weekend where the sporting calendar was decimated by the spread of the coronavirus, Axelsen said he hopes his success can help make badminton more accessible in England.
“Hopefully this [coming on a weekend with a lot of sport cancelled because of COVID-19] can help make badminton a more visible sport in this country,” he added.
“I just hope everybody managed to stay safe, and I’m happy that we managed to be able to play this week, and I hope everything will get under control quickly.
“I don’t know how I’m going to celebrate - right now I have to get my feet up and travel back home to Denmark and see all my family and stuff.
“Then let’s see what happens.”
Chou was completely outclassed in front of a packed-out Arena Birmingham crowd, as Axelsen was roared on by the considerable contingent of travelling Danish fans.
And the pre-tournament favourite lamented his sub-par performance in the defeat.
“I tried to put in a better performance today, but I wasn’t able to control the rallies as well as Viktor was able to,” he said.
“During the long rallies I wasn’t able to meet my expectations, which are that I’ll fight strongly.
“I didn’t play to my my 100 per cent, and I didn’t expect that, but that’s the way it is.
“I am still happy to have reached the final, as obviously the last two years I lost early on so this will give me confidence for the rest of the season, whatever happens, if we are able to play more tournaments.”