Europe's best-performing players of the past year were honoured and the third member of the Badminton Europe Hall-Of-Fame was inducted at the 3rd BEC Awards Gala, which took place in Paris, France.
More than 10,000 people cast their votes for the awards via Badminton Europe's website and Facebook page, with national coaches of each of the 52 Badminton Europe Member Associations also getting a vote which was multiplied by five
The Best Young Player of the Year 2014 award went to Germany’s youngster Yvonne Li, who showed her potential last year by winning the European U17 Championships in the women’s singles. Denmark’s Jan Ø. Jørgensen was crowned Best Male Player Of The Year 2014. The current European Champion in the men’s singles won the Indonesia Open Superseries title and climbed up to a career-high 3rd place in the BWF world rankings in the past year. “I am very honoured to receive the Award as the BEC Best European Male Player Of The Year for the second time in a row. I had a great last year – especially the first six months of the past year were outstanding”, said current world number 2 Jan Ø. Jørgensen.
The BEC Best Female Player of the Year title was somewhat unsurprisingly awarded to Spanish world champion one Carolina Marin, who took the badminton world by storm as she won the world championships gold medal in 2014.
Lene Køppen – new member of BEC’s Hall Of Fame
The third member of the Badminton Europe Hall of Fame was also officially presented in Paris, with the honour going to Denmark's legendary Lene Køppen. One of the dominant forces in women's badminton during the 1970's and early 1980’s.
Køppen won two All England singles titles as well as two European Championships gold medals in the women’s singles. She also became – and still is - the first badminton player to win a singles and a doubles world championships gold medal.
First Para-Badminton Player Of The Year award
The “Women in Badminton” Person Of The Year award went to Anu Nieminen. The former Finnish world class player runs her badminton academy, specialized for female badminton athletes. Karin-Suter Erath was awarded with the Best Para-Badminton Player Of the Year Award of 2014. The Swiss, who holds the top position in the world rankings (class WH1), is the current European Champion in the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Tom Bacher elected BEC Honorary Vice President
Badminton Europe’s former President Tom Bacher was elected BEC Honorary Vice President. The Dane, a former world class player, joined Badminton Europe, then in 1979. From 2004 to 2010 he was a very active President of Badminton Europe Confederation. In this capacity he very successfully turned the focus for our Continental Confederation towards a modern business-like approach to the game, with focus also on modern media, as you know BEC today. Bacher also served BWF for 24 years, from 1979 – 2003 with distinction, from 1986 as a Vice-President. Tom Bacher received a certificate by BEC President Gregory Verpoorten and got standing ovations by the audience.
Next year's Annual Delegates' Meeting and the 4th BEC Awards Gala will take place in April 2015 in Slovenia.
Click here for a photo gallery of the 3rd BEC Awards Gala in Paris.
Photos by BadmintonPhoto.