Stellan Mohlin with the King of Sweden.
BEC salutes a legend
Date: 6/12/2019 9:44 AM
Published by : Written by William Kings - Edited by Rasmus Bech

One of the great elders of the sport, Stellan Mohlin had a long and illustrious career as a badminton player, administrator and elected official. Stellan Mohlin was IBF Vice President from 1968 to 1976, and he was elected as an Honorary Life Vice President in 1981, received the Herbert Scheele Award in 1991 and inducted into the World Badminton Hall of Fame in 1999. 

Tribute to Stellan Mohlin

Stellan Mohlin’s love affair with badminton lasted almost as long as the International Badminton Federation [BWF] itself.

He first played the game in 1935, just a year after the founding of the Federation and through the years leading up to his induction to the Hall of Fame in 1999, his contribution to the sport as a player and administrator is one of the most distinguished in any sport.

As a player, he won the first of his 23 international caps at the age of 25 and along the way picked up 11 national titles. He moved into management and administration of the sport in 1954 as a committee member of the Svenska Badmintonforbundet. His list of offices since, is long and illustrious. He became a council member of the IBF in 1964.

His skills as a linguist and his ability to combine badminton travel with his international business interests made him an ideal candidate for that post. Membership to and participation in European competitions blossomed.

In 1976, he became President of the IBF and soon had the bitter sweet experience of watching his native Sweden running the First official World Championships while the IBF was slowly breaking up before his eyes.

Once again he proved to be the right man in the right place at the right time and he represented IBF interest in the difficult years between 1977 and 1980 when the sport was threatened with the formation of the rival World Badminton Federation.

It is always distressing to spend time preventing play and this tendency was kept to a minimum, due entirely to Stellan’s ability to maintain his enthusiasm and to his unshakable belief that international sport is a worthwhile pursuit and that its benefits will overcome almost any problem.

After four years of concentrated effort by Stellan and Craig Reedie, Stellan Mohlin was able to preside over a united Annual General Meeting in Tokyo in 1981 when the whole badminton world was present.

A grateful IBF conferred on him its highest honour by unanimously electing him an Honorary Life Vice-President. Service of 20 years to the IBF and 49 years to the game represents a commitment to badminton which very few people are prepared to make.

Stellan Mohlin was known, liked and respected wherever our sport was played. His advice and friendship had always been most welcome.

Big impact on European badminton as well
Stellan Mohlin was one of Sweden’s finest players in the late 1940s and 1950s. Together with Nils ‘Tomten’ Jonsson he won 12 Swedish men’s doubles titles and he also won one mixed doubles title. He also excelled internationally, with a close men’s doubles semi-final in the All England Championships with Jonsson among his best results.

Stellan’s achievements as a sports official, however, are of much greater importance. He is certainly one of the most important leaders international badminton has known. Stellan’s important contribution to European badminton should not be overlooked.

He was one of the founding fathers of EBU and was elected to the three-man Executive Committee in charge of the Union. Stellan was elected Vice President in 1968 and from 1969-1977 he served as a dynamic and innovative President of the young EBU. He only retired because of his election to the Presidency of IBF. Under Stellan the EBU was shaped into an efficient Continental Confederation.

With the election of an Honorary Secretary and Treasurer, Emile ter Metz from the Netherlands, he ensured effective administration, and with Joseph R. Benes from Czechoslovakia, he created a system of reciprocity to look after the badminton players from the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain, who did not have access to hard currency. European Team Championships for seniors and juniors were introduced, the Helvetia Cup was integrated into the EBU event structure and sub-committees for umpiring and for development were introduced.

Stellan led the EBU from the toddler stage into maturity and left the Union only to move to higher office.

Stellan Mohlin, who was awarded as BEC Honorary Vice Presidents Medal at the ADM in Karlskrona in 2012, passed away on 6 June 2018 at the age of 94.

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