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European Athletics family pays tribute to Hensel

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Tributes have poured in for Frank Hensel from Germany who died after a serious illness on Sunday (29) at the age of 70.

Hensel played a significant role on both the German and European athletics landscape. He served as the General Secretary and Director General of the German Athletics Federation and was the CEO of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009.

Hensel was first elected onto the European Athletics Council in 2007. He served as Vice President between 2015 and 2019 and was voted onto the Executive Board at the last European Athletics Congress in Prague in 2019.

Friends and colleagues among the European Athletics family have shared their tributes to Frank who will be dearly missed by everyone.

Dobromir Karamarinov, European Athletics Interim President:

“My heart aches for another dear friend we've lost. I knew Frank for more than 20 years, since he became General Secretary of the German Federation and we were close friends since 2007, when we were both elected onto the European Athletics Council for the first time.

“He was a real professional, had enormous knowledge of our sport and was never afraid to speak his thoughts in the best interest of athletics. He left us way too early - there was so much more he could have given.

“Frank was honest and open, yet mild. His disarming smile was his trademark that could get any job done. I'll miss him dearly.”

Christian Milz, European Athletics CEO:

“I have lost a great friend and colleague. I had the pleasure and honour of working with Frank for more than 15 years. He dedicated his whole life to athletics.

“I will never forget Frank for his permanent smile and good mood. I also learned a lot from him thanks to his wide knowledge, long experience and his way of always pushing European Athletics to improve, to innovate and to move forward for the good of the organisation.

“We have lost two athletics giants this year with Svein Arne as well. I would have never imagined that life could be so tough and unfair.”

Sebastian Coe, World Athletics President:

"It’s hard to believe that Frank Hensel will not be around to gently guide athletics at so many levels. The sport has lost a powerful intellect and a passionate advocate and friend to so many."

Jurgen Kessing, German Athletics Federation President:

“For the world of athletics, the death of Frank Hensel is a great loss. He was involved in a wide variety of functions for many decades right up to the end of his life and enjoyed the highest reputation worldwide.

“Together with its regional associations, the German Athletics Federation expresses its condolences to Hensel's family and his partner and, above all, wishes them a lot of strength in this difficult time.”

Idriss Gonschinska, German Athletics Federation Director General:

“Frank Hensel was a very important supporter and friend for me. Over many years of working together, I have learned a lot from him, both as a coach and as a sports official. Above all, he showed me what it means to move on the national and international stage of sports politics. The German and worldwide athletics family loses a great visionary through his death."

Paul Bristow, European Championships Management Director:

“This is really sad news about Frank Hensel, who played a very important role in making the first multi-sport European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin in 2018 a huge success and was instrumental in bringing the 2nd edition to Munich in 2022. Our thoughts are with all his friends and family.”

Periklis Iakovakis, European Athletics Athletes Committee Chairman:

“One more big loss for the European Athletics family. My sincere condolences to his family. I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet him and will always remember him.”

Jenny Meadows, world and European 800m medallist and Development Commission member:

“I enjoyed Frank’s zest for life and athletics so very much. Thinking of those who will miss him terribly.”

Azerbaijan Athletics Federation:

“Frank Hensel had a huge role in athletics development and all that he has done for the development of our sport was priceless.

“We would like to express, on behalf of Azerbaijan Athletics Family, our deepest condolences to Frank’s family, friends, as well as the European Athletics and German Athletics Federation.”

Croatian Athletic Federation:

“We were deeply saddened to hear about the death of Frank Hensel. He was a great gentleman, always with a smile and always full of support for the sport.

“On behalf of Croatian Athletics Federation we would like to express our deepest condolences to his family and friends and rest in peace Frank.”