The Danish Open 2019 was held in Odense from Tuesday October 15th until Sunday 20th. I caught an early morning flight from Manchester and was soon in Copenhagen airport being reunited with my suitcase (always a relief!) After a wait of about an hour, we began the car journey to Odense which would take between an hour and a half and two hours. No one quite seemed to know which hotel I was staying in but when we stopped at the first one being used by the tournament, they were expecting me so I checked in. The briefing wasn’t until the evening so I had time to wander into Odense to have a look around.
At the briefing, it was good to catch up with some familiar faces and to meet some new umpires. There were six candidates who were being assessed for BWF Accreditation so they were going to umpire for the first four days of the six day tournament.
I was umpiring for both of the sessions on day one so I had an early start. We were put into groups of four for each of the two sessions with each pair allocated to a court. I was on court one for the first session which was a bit of a shock – I haven’t used IRS since the All England 2018. I worked the first session again on Wednesday but the second one on Thursday so I had a very welcome lie in.
On Friday there was a sightseeing trip to a castle complete with a maze, a dolls’ house and a treetop walk before the quarter finals that started at 3pm. I was lucky enough to be given an all Danish match between hometown favourite Victor Axelson and fellow Dane Anders Antonsen. As it was an evening match, there was a large and very noisy crowd for what turned out to be a very enjoyable match.
Saturday was the day of the written test for the six candidates so the rest of us covered the semi-finals. Umpiring duties were allocated to the BWF umpires so I service judged two semis. Following the conclusion of play, there was a party for everyone involved in the tournament including those playing in Masters and Para-badminton events at venues nearby. This was a very enjoyable evening and we were able to celebrate with the four candidates who had passed their assessment.
We had already been told that only BWF umpires would be involved on finals’ day so I was able to relax and watch the games. The finals were great games although the women’s doubles was interrupted at 7-6 in the third end by a message telling us to evacuate the hall due to a security alert. We were outside for quite a few minutes but were allowed back in after it was discovered the alert was due to an overheating popcorn machine. Unfortunately, the security message was repeated at match point although before the hall was completely evacuated, we were told that it was a false alarm.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable tournament with decent crowds that were very vocal! The mascots – two ducks called Rasmus and Rosa- were great fun and kept us all entertained with their antics. It was good experience to use IRS again and there was an opportunity for a debrief after each match so I learnt a great deal during the tournament. An added bonus was that my suitcase arrived at Manchester Airport at the same time as I did!