Danish shuttler Antonsen sets up base in Malaysia to prepare for World Tour Finals

KUALA LUMPUR – Denmark’s world number 11 men’s singles shuttler Anders Antonsen (picture) had to change his year-end plans after having qualified for the season ending BWF World Tour Finals from Dec 13 to 17 at Hangzhou, China.

The 26-year-old had earlier planned to fly down under to Melbourne after last week’s China Masters in Shenzhen to begin his 2024 season preparations, but after making into the season finale, he has chosen to train at the Akademi Badminton Malaysia (ABM) here beginning today.

Besides the long journey to Denmark, the Aarhus-born wanted to enjoy the warm weather here by avoiding rough winter in Scandinavia, with the current temperature already dipping to -6 degree Celsius in Copenhagen.

“Yes, 100 percent I am trying to escape the winter in Denmark…Very rough, it’s cold, grey (dark) and windy, I don’t like it. I have been here (ABM) for practice a few times during tournaments and the facilities are good.

“So once the World Tour Finals slot was confirmed, I needed a place to practice, so I immediately thought of KL. I reached out to coaches, and they have allowed me to be here for a couple of weeks, which I am very grateful and thankful,” he told reporters when met after a training session.

Antonsen, however, admitted that he needs to slightly adjust his routine to be an ‘early bird’ as most of the national players here start their training early, with some as early as 6.45 am.

Only the top eight ranked players (or top seven if world champion is not in top eight) in the World Tour Ranking will be able to play in the World Tour Finals, which offers US$2 million (about RM9.3 million) which is a lofty prize purse.

The 2020 World Tour Finals champion said, he will implement his Melbourne training stint plans after the World Tour Finals, to start the 2024 season opener, Malaysia Open at the Axiata Arena from Jan 9-14.

Meanwhile, the three-time World Championship medalist said he would like to catch up with his friend and Malaysian number one Lee Zii Jia, if time permits, as well as explore the city.

“I think he must be busy practicing as well, but we are in contact and he helped me to sort a few things.

“I have been in KL a few times and I know some good cafes and coffee spots that I wanted to visit again. However, I will be quite busy with practice…It is not really a holiday but I am looking forward to explore since I am here,” he added. – BERNAMA / pic AFP