Great Dane is new President of Badminton World Federation
Saturday, 18 May 2013
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By Duncan Mackay
May 18 - Denmark's Poul-Erik H°yer is the new President of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after winning today's election at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The 1996 Olympic men's singles gold medallist defeated his only rival, Indonesia's Justian Suhandinata, in the vote by the BWF membership at the Annual General Meeting.
The 47-year-old H°yer, the only non-Asian player ever to win an Olympic gold medal, polled 145 votes to Suhandinata's 120.
There was one spoilt ballot.
His term will last for four years.
H°yer, President of Badminton Europe, replaces South Korean Dr. Kang Young Joong, who has stepped down after eight years.
Former Badminton World Federation President Dr Kang Young-Joong (left) introduces his successor, Denmarks Poul-Erik H°yer, after the election
Suhandinata was among the first to congratulate the new President in the presence of all the delegates attending the meeting from more than 150 of the BWF's 179 member associations.
H°yer's running-mate, Gustavo Salazar Delgado, defeated incumbent Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho, from the United States, for that position.
The Peruvian amassed 148 votes to Rangsikitpho's 118.
Among the things top of H°yer's agenda will be helping restore badminton's reputation following last year's scandal at the Olympics in London when four doubles teams were thrown out of the tournament for trying to deliberately lose matches to ensure themselves easier matches in later rounds.
"Of course I am delighted that I was the winning part in this [election]," he said.
"Badminton has been in my heart for my whole life and therefore I cherish this opportunity.
"Match-fixing or match-throwing is a concern.
"Definitely it is of my concern."
The scandal led to doubts over whether the sport would continue on the Olympic programme but in the end wrestling was recommended for removal after Rio 2016.
But H°yer wants to help globalise the sport and make its Olympic place stronger.
"One of my focus areas will be the developments of the sport," he said.
"The important thing is that we show global sports as we are, but we want to do even better.
"One very big task is of course the 2016 Olympic Games and I'm really happy to see badminton played in Brazil.
"Our ranking between the co-sports of the Olympics are around 13.
"My aim is to reach top ten at Olympics.
"That means that we are at competition with other sports...we have to attract audience, we have to show a great performance in the next four years."
H°yer is the first President of the BWF from Europe since it adopted its current idenity in 2006 and the first non-Asian since 1993, when Britain's Arthur Jones held the role.
H°yer reiterated a campaign pledge that he would not move the BWF headquarters from Kuala Lumpur - where they have been based since relocating there in 2005 from Cheltenham in England.
"Let me underline that there has never been talk of moving the office from KL," he said.
"The office stays in KL."
H°yer is also the first Dane to hold the position since Poul-Erik Nielsen, winner of three consecutive All-England titles between 1958 and 1960, who had the role between 1984 and 1986.
"Poul-Erik has done a really great job of being chosen, and it is great to see that the hard work he has put into this pay off," said Badminton Denmark President Peter Jensen..
"I'm have no doubt that Poul-Erik will be an excellent President of BWF."
New Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik H°yer takes his place in the centre of the newly elected Council in Kuala Lumpur
There will also be several new Confederation vice-presidents.
Africa will be represented by Dagmawit Berhane, secretary general of the Ethopian Olympic Committee; Asia by Liu Fengyan, director of the Chinese Table Tennis and Badminton Administrative Centre, who retained his position; Europe by Gregory Verpoorten, former President of the Belgian Badminton Federation; Ocenia by Geraldine Brown, President of Badminton Australia; and Pan America by Vishnu Tolan, President of the Jamaica Badminton Association.
In the voting for the new Council Akhilesh Das Gupta, President of the Badminton Association of India, came out on top with 259 votes, narrowly ahead of France's Etienne Thobois, head of the BWF's Marketing Committee, with 255.
Also elected to the Council were Russia's Sergey Shakhray, China's Li Ling Wei, Iran's Mehdi Karbasian, Malaysia's Lim Teong Kiat, Spain's David Cabello, Slovakia's Peter Tarcala, Mauritius' Raj Gaya, Lebanonon's Jassem Kanso, New Zealand's Nigel Skelt, England's Nora Perry, Sri Lanka's Ranjit De Silva, Zimbabwe's Chipo Zumburani, Switzerland's Lawrence Chew, Canada's Wayne Somers and Singapore's Ng Yoke Weng.
They will be joined by Scotland's Emma Mason, who is a member by virtue of becoming chair of the BWF Athletes' Commission, and Switlzerland's Paul Kurzo, who was re-elected as vice-president of Para-badminton.
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