Working Group in St. Petersburg 1996 (left to right: Simeon Simeonov, Puzant Kassabian, Torsten Berg, Joao Matos, Horst Kullnigg, Vladimir Liftshits, Audrey Kinkead and Derek Batchelor) (Photo: Badminton Europe)
Longest serving BEC Council Member is 80
Date: 1/13/2021 4:01 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Badminton Europe’s longest serving Council Member turns 80 today. Horst Kullnigg has dedicated more time for the good of European badminton more than anyone else. We celebrate by learning about his badminton journey. 

Horst, from Austria, was elected in 1972 as the representative of the Osterreichischer Badminton Verband and just two years later he organised the 1974 European Championships in Vienna, the fourth edition of the championships, with winners such as BEC Hall of Fame (2014) Gillian Gilks, Derek Talbot and Sture Johansson.

In 1983, he was again appointed Council Member due to the 1985 European Junior Championships taking place in his hometown of Pressbaum in the Wienerwald. He worked also on the Development Committee during this time.

Horst’s major contribution was his 22-year stint as Honorary Treasurer or Finance Director of Badminton Europe. Until 2008, he looked after the books in a careful manner with his philosophy dictating that the income should be spent on badminton activities and not saved.

In order for this to be possible, it requires meticulous work keeping expenses low. After a long day of meetings, if asked whether a cognac would be allowed by a fellow council member, Horst would often respond. 

-Well… okay, but then a cheap cognac.

This is a quote that resonated through the BEC board members and neatly captures the approach to his role. 

As Treasurer, he was also behind projects such as Summer Camps in Pressbaum with participants from all over the world, hosting the first Summer School in 1982 and assisting a large number of players and officials in difficult circumstances in Eastern Europe. 

Working alongside the likes of Gisela Hoffmann, Frank Wilson and Irene Delvai, they developed the concept of the BEC Circuit that we see today. 

From everyone at Badminton Europe that owes a lot of what we have today to the legacy of Horst Kullnigg, we wish you a Happy Birthday and all the very best. 

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