Former IBF (now BWF) President Poul-Erik Nielsen, one of badminton’s key figures both as player and administrator, turned 90 on Saturday 10 April 2021.
Nielsen was one of the best doubles players of his time – winning three consecutive titles with different partners at the All England. In men’s doubles, he made five finals, of which he won two (with Erland Kops in 1958 and Finn Kobbero in 1960). He also reached three mixed doubles finals, capturing the title in 1959 with Inge Birgit Hansen and finishing runner-up in 1960 and 1962 with the same partner.
Nielsen was IBF President at a crucial time (1984-1986), and it was during his tenure – on 5 June 1985 — that the International Olympic Committee confirmed badminton’s inclusion as an Olympic sport beginning in Barcelona 1992. Nielsen received the Olympic flag — in recognition of badminton’s new Olympic status – at the World Championships in 1985.
Nielsen’s tenure as President was preceded by his helming the Rules and Laws Committee in 1976; one of his major contributions was in designing the beginning of professionalism for badminton players by enabling them to make money from the sport. He was also a key figure in the reunification of IBF with the breakaway World Badminton Federation.
BWF wishes Poul-Erik Nielsen a happy 90th birthday!