Dr. Puzant Kassabian - a true badminton pioneer
Date: 6/7/2024 9:11 AM
Published by : Torsten Berg
Bulgarian badminton and his many friends all over the world mourn the passing of Dr. Puzant Kassabian, aged 83 in his home town of Haskovo, where he was an Honorary Citizen. A great sportsman. A great leader. And an even greater personality,
Puzant Kassabian was a top class, all-round athlete and he competed for his country in five sports. As an elite basketball player and table tennis champion in his days as a medical student, he met and fell in life-long love with badminton. Puzant became a true pioneer for our game in Bulgaria and many neighbouring countries. Tennis and racketlon on the international level also enjoyed his skills.
In our game, Puzant Kassabian was a multiple National Men's Doubles Champion with his brother Arsen. In 1977, he made it to the first World Badminton Championships in Malmö (SWE) and 24 years later in Seville (ESP), in 2001, when he played his last World Championships — a record that will hardly ever be broken. However, his contribution to badminton as a coach and leader are surely more important than his achievements in the field of play.
Puzant Kassabian worked all his life for badminton in Bulgaria. He brought badminton to his country in 1965 and took the initiative to form the Bulgarian Badminton Federation. For more than 50 years, he spearheaded the organisation, serving in leading roles as President, Secretary General, and in the early years also as coach and always as Team Doctor. Under his leadership players emerged quickly such as Diana Koleva, Victoria Hristova, and Petya Nedeltcheva, who competed successfully on the international scene. Even today, the Stoeva sisters and the Popov family, competing on the world scene for France, can be grateful to Puzant Kassabian for having contributed to the background for their success. 
Puzant Kassabian's leadership stretched far beyond the borders of his country. He established the Balkan Badminton Federation and organised coach education clinics and training camps, where participants from neighbouring countries in the Balkans as well as Greece, Turkey, Georgia and his country of origin, Armenia, enjoyed training from leading European specialists, thus contributing significantly to the development of badminton in the region. 
In 1988, Puzant was elected to the Development Committee of the European Badminton Union (today BEC), where he served until 1993. Later, BWF also enjoyed his services as he was elected a BWF Council Member, serving from 2000 to 2009. Internationally,  his main achievement was the establishment of a World Training Center in Sofia, functioning from 2005 to 2009.
Puzant Kassabian's many friends around the world will remember him for long, not just for his many achievements but mostly for his positive, kind, and generous character. He was pragmatic. With a smile and some well-chosen, kind words, he could overcome all sorts of bureaucratic and other problems that might disturb a badminton course or a competition. We are many who will raise a glass — preferably his favourite Rakir — in his memory, and whenever we hear the famous Italian hit 'Mariana, Marina, Marina' — another favourite of Puzant - we will think gratefully of our friend.
Puzant Kassabian received the President's Medal from EBU and the Distinguished Service Award from BWF as well as the Order of Stara Planina and the Crown of the Winner from Bulgaria.

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