Wednesday, 22 May 2024

News | BWF World Championships

In the world of badminton, the first man to claim victory in the World Championships was Flemming Delfs. However, not many know that his historic win in Malmo back in May 1977 was made possible by an act of sportsmanship from England’s Ray Stevens.

During the early rounds of the competition, Delfs was facing disqualification for exceeding the five-minute interval. It was then that Stevens stepped in and advocated for his rival, persuading the referee not to disqualify Delfs. And the rest, as they say, is history.

With Stevens’ intervention, Delfs went on to triumph over fellow Dane Svend Pri in the final, securing his place as the first men’s singles champion. The significance of this event is not lost on Delfs, who is eagerly anticipating a reunion with Stevens in Basel on Sunday as both will be attending the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 as VIP guests.

Stevens himself vividly remembers that fateful day in Malmo. Reflecting on the incident, he shared, “My memories of 1977 are quite vivid. I can remember the shock of Flemming’s disqualification, but I didn’t accept it from referee Ole Mertz, and he was reinstated.” Stevens observed that this incident seemed to fuel Delfs’ performance, propelling him to reach new heights in his play.

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In addition to the Delfs-Stevens encounter, Stevens also recalls another memorable singles match between Thomas Kihlstrom and Liem Swie King during the quarterfinals. This match was nothing short of incredible.

While Stevens may not have won the singles title in Malmo, he did not leave empty-handed. Teaming up with Mike Tredgett, Stevens clinched a bronze medal in the men’s doubles category. Yet, even more noteworthy was the recognition he received from IOC President Lord Killanin. Stevens was honored with a UNESCO citation for exemplifying sportsmanship of the highest order.

Beyond his playing career, Stevens found success as a coach, first with the England team and later with Scotland. His coaching journey included the gratifying experience of mentoring his nephew Darren Hall, who surpassed Stevens’ own record of five National men’s singles titles. Hall’s record of 10 titles still stands to this day.

To celebrate the medallists of the inaugural World Championships, the BWF has organized a special reception on the final day of the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019. Among the distinguished attendees are Flemming Delfs, Gillian Gilks, Nora Perry, Steen Skovgaard, Derek Talbot, Ray Stevens, Thomas Kihlstrom, Etsuko Toganoo, Emiko Ueno, and Joanna Flockhart.

FAQs

Q: Who was the first man to win the World Championships?
A: Flemming Delfs was the first man to claim victory in the World Championships.

Q: What was the significant act of sportsmanship by Ray Stevens?
A: Ray Stevens successfully pleaded with the referee not to disqualify Flemming Delfs during their match in the early rounds of the World Championships, allowing Delfs to continue and eventually win the tournament.

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Q: Did Ray Stevens achieve success in his coaching career?
A: Yes, Ray Stevens had a successful coaching career, working with both the England and Scotland teams. He also had the privilege of mentoring his nephew, Darren Hall, who went on to break Stevens’ own record of five National men’s singles titles, achieving a total of 10 titles.

Q: Are there any upcoming events related to the World Championships?
A: Yes, a reception has been organized by the BWF to honor the medallists of the first World Championships. This event will take place on the final day of the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 and will be attended by various badminton legends, including Flemming Delfs, Gillian Gilks, Nora Perry, Steen Skovgaard, Derek Talbot, Ray Stevens, Thomas Kihlstrom, Etsuko Toganoo, Emiko Ueno, and Joanna Flockhart.

Conclusion

The story of Flemming Delfs and Ray Stevens exemplifies the spirit of sportsmanship that has shaped the World Championships since its inception. Their encounter in 1977 serves as a testament to the values of fairness, respect, and camaraderie that define this prestigious badminton tournament. As we celebrate the achievements of the past and look forward to the future, the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019 is a reminder of the enduring legacy of the sport and the exceptional players who have contributed to its history.