New world title motivates Thrane

The Danish athlete captured gold in the women’s singles SU 5 event at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2015. 23 Sep 2015
Woman lying on the floow, celebrating

Denmark’s Julie Thrane won the women’s singles SU 5 at the BWF para-badminton World Championships 2015.

ⒸAlan Spink
By David Phillips | For the IPC

"If I can be part of something inspiring to promote para-badminton I will gladly do that.”

Denmark’s Julie Thrane might be taken for a typical university student, working toward her bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. But behind that, she is also the new para-badminton world champion.

The Danish athlete dethroned Japan’s No. 1 Mamiko Toyoda, who was the defending women’s singles SU 5 world champion, with a 21-19, 10-21, 21-17 victory at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Para-Badminton World Championships 2015 title on 13 September in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain.

For the 20-year-old, the victory gave her confidence ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where para-badminton will make its debut. Thrane described Toyoda as very fast and greatly skilled. To win against the very opponent whom ousted her in the semi-finals at the 2013 World Championships was so special that she struggled to put into words what the title meant.

"[I don’t] remember much about the final, [except my] the first memory being of rolling around on the floor and hammering the ground," Thrane said.

Thrane entered the tournament as the third seed. She said that day was her biggest achievement in the sport. But perhaps that will snow-ball into more gold medals.

"[It motivates me to] keep fighting and working hard," Thrane said. "[I like] the expectations [as a world champion].”

Her accomplishment did not go unnoticed at home, as congratulatory messages flooded her email and social media accounts, including one from national pros Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Anna Thea Madsen.

At the 2015 World Championships, Thrane also took silver in the women's doubles. Thrane partnered with India's Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar, whose original partner was forced to withdraw due to injury. Despite the language barrier and never previously having played together, Thrane and Parmar combined to win three of their four matches, using hand signals to communicate and relying on coaches and players to assist with translation. Thrane also won bronze in tandem with long-term mixed-doubles partner Daniel Bethell from Great Britain.

While Tokyo 2020 is still far away, Thrane looks forward to returning to Denmark, catching up with family and friends, and working toward her degree that she hopes to obtain in three years time.

For now, she hopes her accomplishments raises awareness about the sport in her home country:

"If I can be part of something inspiring to promote para-badminton I will gladly do that.”