The world’s number two ranked women’s badminton doubles team who also happen to be a couple have been welcomed with open arms by fans in India, where homosexuality is illegal.
Danish pair, Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, revealed they were a couple in October last year.
Four-time winners of the European Championships, the women are now competing in India’s, Premier Badminton League (PBL). Pedersen will play for the Awadhe Warriors and while Juhl will play for the Ahmedabad Smash Masters.
After coming out the couple said they were aware their visibility as lesbian might mean that could not travel to countries that were not LGBTI-friendly.
But despite same-sex relations being illegal in India under Section 377 of the Penal Code, the women said they felt very welcomed by fans.
‘We have got a lot of support from India. Fans who know our story like us. They welcome us,’ Pedersen told the Deccan Chronicle.
‘They want to see Kamilla and I play together. I’m really happy about it.’
Pedersen said that people had even been welcomed in Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.
‘I get a big smile on my face when I learn people still want to support me,’ she said.
‘After we came out, we were ready to change our schedule if some countries didn’t want to allow us play. But it hasn’t happened so far. We are going to play in Indonesia later this month.’
The couple who were silver medallists at the 2016 Rio Olympics have been together for more than eight years and are happy to talk about their relationship publicly.
‘I’m not tired about talking about our relationship. I’m still the same Christinna. I’m still the badminton player people know me for the last 10 years,’ Pedersen said.
The Ahmedabad Smash Masters are currently on top of the PBL ladder and the Awadhe Warriors are in fourth place with only two rounds to play before the finals series.