It’s hard to imagine any more popular or more deserving winners of a YONEX All England Open title than Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen.
The experienced Danish pair have been winning titles on the world circuit since 2012 but the prestigious All England is the one that’s proved elusive, and it seemed the crowd were willing them on to glory in Birmingham.
Rytter Juhl and Pedersen prevailed 21-19 21-18 over Japan’s Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in Sunday’s final, sending the crowd into raptures in one of those sporting moments that will love long in the memory for anybody who was there to witness.
“I have goosebumps again,” said Rytter Juhl. “It’s so special to play in this arena, every time we come here we look at each other and say ‘how can they do it’.
“It’s so special for the players and ourselves included so to stand here with the trophy with so many big names on it, it’s just a special feeling.”
Pedersen and Rytter Juhl have been in the world’s top six for over seven years, reaching 20 finals and winning nine titles along the way.
But the All England Open wasn’t one of them, and there was heartache here 12 months ago when the Danes lost in the final to Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan despite an excellent tournament.
The Danish pairing felt after that final that they hadn’t attacked enough, but didn’t make that mistake in 2018 with a dominant performance that saw them lead most of the first game and comeback from 13-10 down to take the second.
“At the end I was shouting at Kamilla ‘come on, come on, take the shot’ and then the shot went out on the left side!” Said Pedersen.
“It’s not that often I cry on court when I win titles.
“I don’t win titles every day or every month but today it was really, really special and you can say we’ve been hunting a trophy like this.
“Finally to stand here with the trophy and with the gold medal is just the best feeling!”
Pedersen is 31 and Rytter Juhl is 34 but they are still very much at the top of their game, everybody hopes they return to Birmingham for many more years, and so does Kamilla.
“Yeah no problem, but you say we could come back for only five years, why don’t you say eight years or more?! But yes, hopefully we’ll come back here to win again.”
The world's best badminton players are in Birmingham for the YONEX All England (14-18 March). For tickets, TV schedule results, & reaction: allenglandbadminton.com