The scenes at the finals day yesterday of the 2021 RSL DM (Danish national championships) took a sharp turn when a big controversy broke out on the court.
Negative emotions quickly engulfed the women’s doubles final between Alexandra Bøje/ Mette Poulsen and Sara Thygesen/ Maiken Fruergaard when a series of service faults were called on the former by the service judge at the start of the match.
The first four serves delivered from the rackets of Bøje and Poulsen were all called faults by service judge Caroline Worm. The serves were deemed to be too high i.e. higher than 115 cms.
Bøje and Poulsen protested furiously to the umpire that the service judge was not doing her job correctly. Bøje became extremely vocal during her protest.
“It’s the fucking same serve. I served like this three weeks ago in Tokyo (at the Olympics). And there it was not faulted. Why is it faulted now every single time I serve?” an angry Bøje told the umpire on the court.
A total of 8 service faults were called on Bøje and Poulsen in the first game.
Near the end of the first game, Mette Poulsen broke down in tears on the court.
Thygesen and Fruergaard, who did not have any similar problem with their serves, took the first game 21-14.
After the first game ended, during the mid-game interval, the tournament referee came on the court to take a closer look at the unwanted situation that had developed on the court.
He inspected the instrument which is used by the service judge to measure the height of the serve. No error was found with the calibration of the service instrument.
The service judge was, however, replaced by another service judge – a situation which is very rare to see in any badminton tournament at any level.
According to TV2 reports, the female service judge was in tears when she hurried her way backstage.
Even though the service judges were changed, the situation on the court remained unchanged.
The second service judge also found problems with Bøje and Poulsen’s serves.
8 more service faults, for serves being too high, were given to Bøje and Poulsen in the second game as well.
Midway through the second game, when one of their serves was faulted, Bøje and Poulsen came up to the net to shake their opponents’ hands, indicating that they wanted to pull out of the match.
Their coach, Jakob Poulsen, stopped them and shouted at them from the coaches’ chair at the back of the court, “No, girls. Nothing. You are only losers if you withdraw now. We just have to finish playing, no matter how it goes. We simply do not do that.”
These words from the coach elicited a huge applause from the crowd.
The match ended with Thygesen and Fruergaard taking the national title with a score of 21-14, 21-18.
Mette Poulsen was seen in tears during the prize presentation ceremony as well.
After the match, Bøje said, “If we have ruined something and crushed her (the service judge), then, of course, we are also sad about it. I would also like to apologize for that, but I also think that we have been deprived of an opportunity to play a match…”
“We can also well understand how she feels. That’s not it at all. On the contrary, she must also understand that if we serve too high all the time, then there is no reason for us to stand here. Because then, we will lose every day,” she added.
Seasoned Danish commentator Jim Laugesen, like everyone watching the match, did not like how the situation got out of hand on the court.
Speaking on Bøje and Poulsen’s behaviour, he commented, “I expect that this will have consequences on the players from Badminton Denmark’s side. It should. Because this is beyond badminton.
“There are a lot of young people sitting and watching, and they must know that this is not okay.”
Badminton Denmark’s Chairman Tore Vilhelmsen said that actions will be taken up, if necessary, only after analysing reports from the referees.
Today, Alexandra Bøje and Mette Poulsen wrote an apology on Instagram and Badminton Denmark’s website.
We would like to apologize for our behaviour in the DM final yesterday. Our emotions on the court took over and we let our frustrations run wild. We’re really sorry about this, and we’ve reached out to the service judge with an apology. At the same time, we are bowing down and apologizing to everyone who feels offended by our behaviour in the match. This is not how we want to represent either the sport or our own values.
Sincerely, Mette and Alexandra”