A lifetime of sporting success and sterling contribution to badminton, spanning almost 60 years, was honoured yesterday as the legendary Erland Kops received his BWF Lifetime Achievement award.
The Danish icon was among those confirmed for 2016 honours at the BWF Council meeting in Bilbao, Spain, earlier this month. The awardees would not normally be announced so soon but, due to Kops’ declining health, BWF fast-tracked the presentation which was made by BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer in Copenhagen.
The rest of the BWF 2016 award winners will be revealed at a later date.
Hailed as Denmark’s most accomplished Men’s Singles player, 79-year-old Kops won seven All England titles from 1958 to 1967. He also claimed four Men’s Doubles All England championships and was the first European to win major titles in Asia, moving to Thailand in the late 1950s to work for a Danish trading company and to improve and test his game.
In the 1960s, he travelled the world and continued to dominate the Men’s Singles category for nearly a decade. His illustrious career ended with European Men’s Doubles medals in 1970 and 1972. Known for his fast footwork and devastating smash, Kops served Badminton Denmark in administrative capacities after retirement and was always happy to help younger generations of players.
In 2000, he was knighted by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II for his badminton achievements, a rare distinction he shares with Høyer who received the same honour last year.
“Erland Kops has been a great inspiration to generations of Danish and European players. He blazed a trail in challenging the best players from Asia. It is a great honour for me to present him with this Lifetime Achievement award,” said Høyer at the brief ceremony.