Badminton: Denmark down Indonesia 3-2 to seal landmark Thomas Cup win

Denmark players celebrate after their victory in the men's final group match at the Thomas Cup badminton tournament in Kunshan, on May 22, 2016.
Denmark players celebrate after their victory in the men's final group match at the Thomas Cup badminton tournament in Kunshan, on May 22, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Denmark became the first European country to lift the Thomas Cup on Sunday, winning the final 3-2 against Indonesia, the most successful nation in the history of the biennial men's badminton team championship.

Indonesia clinched both doubles matches but world No. 4 Viktor Axelsen, No. 5 Jan Jorgensen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus won their singles contests to power Denmark to an emotional triumph against the 13-time champions.

Vittinghus sealed the landmark victory with a smash down-the-line, triggering wild celebrations in the Denmark camp at the Kunshan Sports Centre in China's Jiangsu province.

The 30-year-old looked dazed after his 21-15, 21-7 win over Ihsan Maulana Mustofa as team-mates, many in tears, mobbed him before forming a celebratory huddle.

Axelsen gave Denmark a perfect start when he outplayed Tommy Sugiarto 21-17, 21-18 in less than an hour.

After conceding the first game, the Indonesia world No. 8 put up a better display in the second and led 18-15 before Axelsen reeled off six points in a row to put Denmark ahead.

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan won the first doubles against Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad Petersen 21-18, 21-13 to draw level before Jorgensen put Denmark ahead again.

The 28-year-old, who missed the semi-final against Malaysia with a hip injury, beat Anthony Ginting 21-17 21-12, celebrating his victory by baring his tattooed torso and throwing his shirt, wristbands and racquet to the crowd.

Indonesia flexed their doubles muscle again through Angga Pratama and Ricky Karanda Suwardi to level the contest, when they beat Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen 21-16, 21-14.

But Vittinghus remained calm in the final singles to clinch it for Denmark - their first title after eight runner-up finishes since the inaugural tournament in 1949.

A week of upsets had seen hosts China and holders Japan both falling in the quarter-finals.

A day earlier, the Chinese women's team made up partly for the men's failure by winning the Uber Cup for the 14th time after beating the 2010 champions South Korea 3-1.