BWF mourns the passing of Walther Tröger, former IOC Sports Director, Honorary Member and a key supporter of badminton’s inclusion in the Olympics, who died aged 91.
Tröger was involved in 27 editions of the Olympic Games as a sports official, including serving as Chef de Mission at the Olympic Winter Games eight times between 1976 and 2002. During the Olympic Games in Munich 1972, he was Mayor of the Olympic Village and was involved in negotiations with armed attackers who took Israeli athletes hostage. (Incidentally, badminton was a demonstration sport at the Munich Olympic Games.)
Tröger was a keen sportsman – he played handball, athletics, basketball, tennis and skiing – and as administrator he served as IOC Sports Director between 1983 and 1990, before becoming an IOC Member in 1989 and an Honorary Member in 2010.
Speaking of Tröger’s support for badminton, Sir Craig Reedie, Honorary Life Vice-President of BWF and IBF President from 1981 to 1984, recalls: “He was consistently helpful to me as we worked out how we could encourage the IOC to consider badminton for the programme. He was the first person to join me for a celebratory drink at the end of the day of the IOC Session in East Berlin in 1985. We became very good friends and I am sad at his passing. I think this connection helps explain why he was allocated to badminton in Barcelona. He was a great man.”
Former BWF Vice-President Torsten Berg, who along with Sir Craig was Technical Delegate at badminton’s Olympic debut in 1992, also paid tribute to Tröger’s contribution to badminton.
“Beyond his many and large contributions to IOC and German sport, we in BWF are particularly grateful to Walther Tröger for what he did for badminton as the IOC Member in charge of the contact to our sport at our first Olympic appearance in Barcelona in 1992. His constructive advice served to help the presentation of badminton in the Games in our debut, and his positive reports to the IOC Executive Board assisted significantly to create our reputation with the IOC.”