IBF President 1984-1986
Poul-Erik Nielsen was one of the best doubles players of the world in the years around 1960, winning three All England titles in consecutive years with three different partners: 1958 MD with Erland Kops, 1959 XD partnering Inge Birgit Anker Hansen and in 1960 again MD, this time with Finn Kobberø. Moreover, he reached the finals on five other occasions between 1956 and 1964 – no mean record, in particular considering that he played at the same time as his legendary countryman Finn Kobberø.
After his playing days, Poul-Erik Nielsen used his degree in law as a tax and customs specialist in the Danish Ministry of Taxation, where he all through his professional career represented his country in international fora, in particular the European Union. Here he earned a reputation as a careful and meticulous administrator with a great ability to seek and find compromise.
Poul-Erik Nielsen’s administrative skills were soon called upon by his sport, and in the early 1970’s he joined first the Danish Badminton Association and the European Badminton Union, later to be elected to IBF in 1974.
He was elected Chairman of the Rules and Laws Committee in 1976. In the very first years of this Chairmanship he together with Craig Reedie and Tom Bacher designed the way for International players to “go Open” and thereby make a living out of their sport.
In the days of the split in IBF 1976-1981 because of the China–Taiwan issue, he used his legal background to advice the IBF President Stellan Mohlin and Vice-President Craig Reedie to create feasible compromises in the very important re-unification process with China.
In 1981 Poul-Erik Nielsen was elected Vice-President and Deputy Chair of Council, and in the next years he worked closely with President Craig Reedie in a period of fast progress for the reunited Federation.
The very successful World Championships finals in Copenhagen 1983 attended by IOC President Samaranch paved way for the Olympic inclusion, and the revamped Thomas and Uber Cup concept conceived by a small Working Group including Poul-Erik Nielsen in Tom Bacher’s garden ensured the financial health of the Federation.
Elected president in 1984, one of Poul-Erik Nielsen’s first initiatives was to introduce a Development Committee to assist the game in younger and smaller Member Associations with coach education and equipment support.
With Torsten Berg as the driving force IBF became one of the very first International Federations to introduce systematic development work.
Regrettably, he was not allowed as much time off his professional duties as expected to fulfill the role of President in the way he wanted, so after only two years he retired to focus on his professional career and personal and sporting life.
After having terminated his IBF responsibilities Poul-Erik Nielsen was appointed Chairman of DBF’s Committee of Rights of Appeal, a committee to handle quarrels between the Association and clubs, or between clubs or between players and clubs (1986-1998).
After his period as President of IBF, Poul-Erik Nielsen very successfully pursued his sporting life playing both tennis and badminton and winning 30 National Veteran Badminton Championships and 22 Veteran Tennis Championships, the last at the age of 78, in 2009.
-- By Torsten Berg