Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova set a landmark at the 2021 European Championships, becoming the first mixed doubles pair from Russia to win gold.
In the final yesterday in Kyiv, the Russians overcame an early setback against top seeds Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith to win 11-21 21-16 21-15. The sixth-seeded Alimov and Davletova had lost their last two matches to the England pair.
“It is amazing and emotional. It is the first time (for Russia), and we are very happy,” Alimov told Badminton Europe. “We lost the last two times to them. In the second and third game we played more aggressive and attacking, and that is why we won.”
The title capped a great week for the Russians, who had earlier beaten second seeds Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue in the quarterfinals and third seeds Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Herttrich in the semifinals.
With Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov taking the men’s doubles – they were handed a walkover from Mark Lamsfuss/Marvin Seidel – Russia returned with two gold medals for the first time.
Bulgaria’s Stoeva sisters — Stefani and Gabriela – defended their women’s doubles crown, holding off England’s Chloe Birch/Lauren Smith in a narrow second game, 21-14 21-19.
“It sounds pretty good; it is an amazing feeling. We are happy about it and we are happy we can share this moment with our family and our coach,” said Stefani.
Birch gave full credit to the Bulgarians.
“Of course we are disappointed. I think we really found our level towards the end of the second game and I think it was anyone’s to take, and they took it. They were brave in the big points and we didn’t quite convert,” Birch said.
Interestingly, the podium finishers received their medals from drones.
“I was shaking and afraid when the drones were coming because of this ‘bzzzz’ sound and I was so nervous not to drop my medal on the floor. My hands were shaking,” Gabriela said.
Carolina Marin maintained her dominance of Europe with her fifth straight title, beating young Dane Line Christophersen 21-13 21-18.
“I feel really happy that I could win my fifth title, you know, it’s not easy. I also feel happy because yesterday I was a bit frustrated with how I was playing, but today I felt happier because we improved my game a lot and I was more focused on my game plan,” said Marin.
Anders Antonsen won his first European Championships as he was given a walkover by his opponent Viktor Axelsen who had tested positive for COVID-19.
There was no medal ceremony for men’s singles and men’s doubles.