(Photo: BEC)
Remembering Tom Bacher: the man who changed badminton
Date: 11/16/2021 9:27 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Today, Tom Bacher, former President of Badminton Europe (2004-2010) would have been turning 80. Not forgotten, we reflect on his impact on the sport and how he professionalised the Confederation. 

The 4th of October 2017 was a sad day for European badminton. Tom Bacher passed away, a true badminton man who will be remembered for his political clout, business brain and big heart.

As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Lives of great men remind us we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.” This is certainly an apt quote to bring to mind when thinking about Tom Bacher’s legacy. 

Bacher was an elite badminton player. The pinnacle of which came in 1970, when, unseeded, he won the All England men’s doubles title, partnering Poul Petersen.

Following his career, he trained as an international umpire as well as a coach and has served the game on court at the highest level since the 1960s.

BWF years
Tom Bacher served BWF for 24 years, from 1979-2003 with distinction, from 1986 as a Vice President. He contributed particularly to the business side of the game, as Chairman of the Open Badminton Committee, which initiated and developed the international prize money events.

Reform of the Thomas and Uber Cup in 1982, which greatly improved the attraction of this event and created the financial basis of the Federation for a decade until Olympic income arrived, was the brainchild of a small Working Group with Bacher at the core.

The establishment and growth of the World Grand Prix –since developed into the Super Series and soon to be World Tour – was another major contribution.

BEC years
From 2004-2010, Bacher was a very active President of Badminton Europe, successfully turning the focus for our Continental Confederation towards a modern, business-like approach to the game, with focus also on modern media.

Badminton Europe of today is largely the result of the initiatives and the professional approach that he inspired and initiated, and which was followed up by his staff and successors.

For outstanding exceptional services to badminton, Bacher received the BWF Herbert Scheele Award in 2008.

In 2011 he received the highest BWF Award when he was announced as BWF Honorary Life Vice President.

For his services to the game, and in particular to Badminton Europe, he was nominated Badminton Europe Honorary Vice President in 2015.

On a day that would have been his 80th birthday, we reflect on some of the great work achieved by Tom Bacher for badminton, appreciating how it has moulded the sport we love today. We are thankful for everything. 

We are also thinking of his children, grandchildren and his many friends and people he touched all over the world.

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