World Bridge: A well prepared Denmark women's team corner attention

CHENNAI: From the cool climes of Denmark to the humid and hot settings in Chennai in India, it has been a big change for the Danish team which had cornered attention with their stupendous show in the early phase of the Venice Cup for women, in the world bridge championship. But then staying indoors in the air-conditioned ambience of the luxurious seven-star hotel, the players have not quite had the ‘weather-shock’ they feared they would.

Everything has been to their liking, the cool rooms, the hospitality and the Indian food and as it turned out even the run of play in the championship. Denmark had finished on top of the table at the end of the round-robin phase in the women’s section with over 300 VP s, the only team to cross that barrier, across the three events, Bermuda Bowl and d Orsi trophy being the other two.

Expectedly then, the captain Jan Nielson has been a contended man. But then, as he rightly said, “it is a different game altogether when the best eight compete in the knock out and anything could happen,” As irony would have it, Denmark was at the receiving end and fighting spiritedly against France as the interview was on and coach and captain as he is, said, “I am nervous and hoping that the women would do well in the end. I have this tough job of deciding which pairs would be fielded and anything goes wrong I will be the first one asked to explain,” he added in a lighter vein.

Whatever happens , this much is clear from Nielson that the Denmark women’s team that had landed here had come after much practice and stringent selection process. “They are not professionals , these women but regular employed who play bridge in their spare time. So to come and play in championship like this is a sacrifice because they have to take part of their annual leave for this. But they are committed,” he said.

Bridge has the blessings of the royal family. The Denmark Queen’s consort in fact plays bridge and often takes part in tournaments back home. Still for all tournament and for participation in the world championship the players depend on the Federation and members of the near 400 bridge clubs in the country. But then funds is never an issue rather what Federation officials are more keen is the level of performance. “We have not been in this competition for long time and so there is more reason for this interest this time,” he said, hoping that the team would last the distance.

Admitting that the stress for players was tough and required careful handling, Nielson said even the sleep schedules of the players have been adjusted to ensure they get the best rest before an important match. And how do they relax? “Inside the room, watching TV programmes, HBO is the most popular and also skyping. Most of them have their husbands looking after the children and so a quick check is a relief. There is a perception that when the wife is away she thinks it is better to check if the husband is doing the home job well!”, he said breaking into a smile.

Denmark Federation is also planning the future well. Already a former player of note Morten Bilde is executing a project targeting the school children in the country and getting them involved in the sport. “we are hoping that this would strengthen the game at the junior level,” he said. The look out now is inspiration. Can the women do it and better the earlier best of placing third in 2000?

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Edited by Staff Editor
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