European Championships: France Finish on a High

The 2024 European Championships finished on a high for France as they completed their best-ever haul, with two gold and a silver.

A day after Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue had won France’s first gold medal, Margot Lambert and Anne Tran followed their example on Sunday, recovering from a game down to get the better of defending champions and three-time winners Gabriela Stoeva/Stefani Stoeva.

These were France’s first titles in the 56-year history of the championships.

“It’s impressive, because yesterday was the first gold medal for France and we brought the second one today. So it’s a great feeling and it’s history,” said Lambert.

“No words right now … just amazing,” said her partner Tran. “The match was very tough and long … we were down one game and we weren’t so good in the game, and then we managed to fight back, and to change the way, so very happy about that.

“We know them quite well, we’ve played them a few times. We knew what we had to do and we had a good gameplan. To end the (Olympic) Race to Paris like that is fantastic. To end it with a win, we couldn’t have asked for more.”

There were no other surprises on finals day. Carolina Marin kicked off proceedings with a 21-11-21-18 result over Kirsty Gilmour, extending her reign to a decade, having won her first European Championships in 2014.

Marin European champion again.

“I feel extremely happy that I won my eighth European gold medal. It’s easy to say, but very difficult to stay on the way and keep working hard year after year.

“I think I’m 50-50 (satisfied), I’m not satisfied 100 per cent, because in the second game I was out of the things that I could do. Sometimes you feel nervous, and you need to keep the focus. This is something I want to improve on.”

Denmark split final day honours with France with two gold medals. Toma Junior Popov, who pulled off the upset of the tournament beating top seed Viktor Axelsen in the semifinals, faded out against Anders Antonsen in the second game after a tight opening game, 21-18 21-13.

Antonsen celebrating with the fans.

“It feels amazing,” said Antonsen, after winning his second title. “Feel super proud to get another win this year. It was a tough week, even though I played only straight games this week.

“I was nervous throughout the whole thing, especially in the end of the first game. Both of us were tense at times in this match.”

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen also won their second title, taking just 35 minutes against compatriots Andreas Sondergaard/Jesper Toft, 21-16 21-15.

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