A badminton doubles pair have announced they are dating each other.
Christinna Pederson and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, ranked number four in the world in women’s doubles badminton, have been a couple for eight years.
The Danish team won the European Championships four times in past six years, and were runners-up in the World Championships in 2015.
In an interview with TV2, they felt like the time was right to reveal they are a couple.
But why not before?
‘The first reason is that Christinna and I want to be recognized for our sporting achievements and not for being a couple,’ Juhl said.
‘We wanted that recognition, and now we feel we have that, which makes it feel like the right time to tell the public,’ Pedersen added.
Many countries they plan to play in have extreme homophobic laws. The World Championships in 2015, for example, took place in Indonesia.
‘That’s why we made a decision not to talk about the relationship before we were ready in a sporting sense. We had to be prepared to choose not to play in some countries,’ Juhl added.
And while they are hoping people will just see them as badminton players and that’s it, they will consider not playing in tournaments if they are hosted in homophobic countries.
‘The worst thing that can happen is that we’ll get death threats, and if that happens, we’ll take it into consideration before we travel to a tournament,’ Pederson said.
‘We’ve reached a point in our careers where if we have to drop out of some tournaments, we’ll do it.’
Being a couple has made them a better badminton team
Both Pederson and Juhl believe being a couple has made them a better team.
‘We have a lot of love for each other and also love playing doubles together,’ Pederson said.
‘The joy many have noticed when we’re on the court is in no way an act. We really think it’s great to be able to play and experience this together.
‘In the end we’re just two girls who think playing badminton is great.’