Credit: Badminton Photo
- It has been a good year for European badminton
Date: 12/30/2018 10:28 PM
Published by : Annika Langrock
Gregory Verpoorten, BEC President and BWF Vice President, summarises the year 2018 for European badminton and gives an outlook for 2019, also regarding the new BEC presidency. 

In 2018, a lot of tournaments got underway in Europe. Next, to the BWF World Tour tournaments and World Championships, European Championships have been organised in several locations across Europe. 

Five European Championships took place: The European Men’s and Women’s Team Championships in Kazan, the European Championship in Huelva, the European Junior Championship and the European Junior Team Championship in Tallinn, as well as the European Senior Championship in Guadalajara, Spain. 

Successful cooperation with member associations

According to the BEC President, Gregory Verpoorten, the cooperation with Badminton Europe’s member associations is working out well, especially when it comes to organising events. 

- Our events are at a level, where everybody can enjoy the sport, especially when we look to the support from the right stakeholders, Verpoorten said. 

- We are challenged with the size of our events, for example, the European Senior Championships in September. Not that many countries are able to host such a big event with 1200 players, he added. 

European players as role models 

In general, Verpoorten describes 2018 as an "exciting era" for badminton in Europe. 

- 2018 was a good year for badminton in Europe. A lot of top players achieved amazing results on court again, especially with Carolina Marin being able to win the World Championships for the third time, which is also promising for 2019. 

- Stars are very important for the development of youngsters because they need to identify themselves with them. Therefore, Carolina Marin, Viktor Axelsen, the Danish Men’s Doubles and the European Women’s Doubles are very important.

When it comes to the development of European badminton, the BEC President and BWF Vice President is optimistic for the future:

- I hope that every country can get their role model. But what is also admirable is that countries like France can compete with countries like Denmark at the Junior level. So, it is important to have stars, but it is also good to see that the development of European badminton, in general, is increasing. 

New staff

2018 was also the year of changes, especially at the Badminton Europe Confederation itself.

- What we have been able to do this year with the support of BWF, was the HR funding. We increased the capacity at the office and that is something, which is very important for me.

- I am very happy that we now have people on board that help with growing the confederation. 

In total, there are 15 employees in the BEC office now, including the coaches at the Centre of Excellence in Holbæk. 

New BEC president 

Gregory Verpoorten is leaving Badminton Europe as president, as well as BWF as vice president in 2019, as he is living in the United States and will keep focusing on the development of badminton there. 

- Badminton is growing, especially in Europe. But if you see what the sport was and still is in Asia now, if you see what the sport can be in countries like Spain and France, then there is a lot of potentials that we can reach in countries like Germany, the UK, the Netherlands or Russia. 

- We should also look at other regions in the world, to make badminton a universal sport. At the Olympic Games, Europe and Asia get the most medals, but we need the other continents to step up. I hope that I can contribute to getting the USA on the map as well. 

Elections in 2019  

In 2007, Gregory Verpoorten firstly joined the BEC board. With him leaving the confederation, the elections for a new BEC President are a big topic coming up in the next year.

- I hope to leave the confederation being as stable as the last couple of years. When I joined the confederation, we were a bot divided among Europe. Now, it is a group of united members that move the sport forward. 

- 2019 will be my year to say goodbye. Of course, I will always be there to support, but it will also be my last year as president. So, it will be my main focus to help with finding candidates for the presidency.
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