Copenhagen 2014 will be remembered for several highlights: the double title of Zhao Yunlei; the emergence of Chen Long from the shadow of his illustrious senior Lin Dan; Lee Yong Dae’s “so close yet so far” moment for his first world title.
But more than any of that, Copenhagen 2014 will be remembered for the crowning of Carolina Marin and the start of a special career.
Until then, Marin had never even won a major title; not even a Superseries. In the run-up to the World Championships there was simply no hint of the thunderbolt that would strike, for Marin had had a modest year.
By quarterfinals day, only Li Xue Rui and Wang Shixian remained for the Chinese. Marin struck down Wang Yihan and Tai Tzu Ying on her way to the last four, and then beat Pusarla V Sindhu to take her place in the final against Olympic champion Li.
Given that she was in her first final of this level, against a player of Li’s quality, the odds were stacked against her, but then, against all expectations, the Spaniard produced a spell of sensational badminton to put herself – and Spain – on top of the podium for the first time in the country’s history.
Korean duo Shin Baek Cheol/Ko Sung Hyun’s victory in men’s doubles was also unexpected. The No.12 seeds played fearlessly against compatriots and overwhelming favourites Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong in the final to prevail in three close games.
In men’s singles, Chen Long avenged his back to back defeats at Lee Chong Wei’s hands with an impeccable performance of pace and power.
The other two paired events went the way of the Olympic champions. Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei proved too crafty for Yu Yang/Wang Xiaoli in the women’s doubles final. Zhao Yunlei then became the only player to simultaneously hold double titles at both the Olympics and World Championships by winning the mixed doubles gold with Zhang Nan over compatriots Xu Chen/Ma Jin.