Badminton Europe mourns the passing of Horst Kullnigg
Date: 1/2/2023 10:23 AM
Published by : BEC Press Release
Badminton Europe mourns the death of BEC Honorary Vice-President and BEC President’s Medal recipient, Horst Kullnigg who passed away on 29 December 2022 in Pressbaum, Austria.  

Horst Kullnigg is the longest serving BEC Council Member and probably the European badminton stalwart who has worked more than anyone else for our Confederation. 

Horst was first elected to EBU Council in 1972 as representative of his Association, the Österreichischer Badminton Verband. Two years later he was organiser of the 1974 European Championships in Vienna.
In 1983 he was again appointed Council Member due to ÖBV taking over the 1985 European Junior Championships, this time in his hometown of Presssbaum in the Wienerwald. The year before the Championships he also joined the Development Committee. 

Horst’s main contribution, however, was in his 22-year role of Honorary Treasurer or Finance Director of the Confederation. From 1986 until 2008 Horst kept the books. Remember that for much of this period, the Confederation did not have a professional office to look after the daily affairs of payments, invoices and bookkeeping. Horst took care of all that, with a minimum of hired local assistance. 

Horst was very pragmatic when it came to keeping the finances. He lived by the principle of accepting money from debtors when they were offered and payments would be documented on whatever was available at the time which could vary from napkins to business cards which were carefully handwritten and signed. 

He was a careful and a caring Treasurer. The income should be spent on badminton activities – but should be spent, not saved. Every year he presented a balanced, realistic budget - and a pessimistic forecast. And every year, with only one exception as far as we know, he would present the Annual Delegates Meeting with a minor surplus.  

This surplus was ensured through his meticulous work keeping expenses low.
For example, when his fellow councilors, after a long day of meetings, came to the coffee after dinner and asked if a cognac could be allowed – once and perhaps once again – finally the Treasurer replied: ”Well, OK, but then a cheap cognac!” This proverb still lingers on in the BEC Board room! 

As Treasurer, Horst served as much more than the Confederation’s money man. He always showed tremendous respect for the badminton people he met, and he has been behind a large number of development efforts, like Summer Camps in Pressbaum having participants from all over the world, like hosting the first BEC Summer School in 1982 and assisting a large number of players and officials of Eastern Europe under difficult circumstances. 

Horst, along with Gisela Hoffmann and Frank Wilson and later Irene Delvai, is behind the BEC Circuit. He, more than anyone in the early years, developed the concept to the success we see today. 

Horst made a special effort to visit several of more newly established BEC Members and we remember him for his road trips that helped the Confederation to be attentive to needs and support local development. Even when going on holidays Horst was sure to look up the local badminton community.  

Horst’s badminton activities are not limited to EBU and BEC. He had held almost every position in the ÖBV by 1980, when he was elected President of his national association and remained in post until 1992. 

To a large extent through his efforts and administrative talent, Austrian players rose to a respected level internationally, and the Austrian Internationals, often played in his own village of Pressbaum, became the best attended event of its kind. 

His contribution to sport is not limited to badminton. He was Chairman of the local sports club in Pressbaum and his national involvement included Finance Director of the Austrian Sports Confederation. 

Horst also made an important contribution to the work of BWF. He served as the Council Member representing Europe from 2003-2009 and was an effective Chair of Finance from 2008-09. From this position and with the support of the BWF’s Korean President Dr. Kang Young-Joong, he undertook the arduous task to clean up the Federation’s accounts after years of difficulties following the International Badminton Federation’s move to Kuala Lumpur in 2005 and its change of name to Badminton World Federation. 

BEC is privileged in having had Horst to look after finance for 22 years. Up until Covid-19 he attended the annual BEC Congress on numerous occasions always mentioning how proud he was to see the continued development of Badminton Europe. He also continued to serve on the BEC History Working Group. 

Horst will be truly missed but the many he touched, not least through his work in badminton. Our thoughts go out to his wife Inge and his sons Peter and Andreas.  
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