News01 Dec 2020

Hensel, long-time German federation official, dies


Frank Hensel (© Getty Images)

World Athletics is deeply saddened by the news that Frank Hensel, a former General Director of the German Athletics Association (DLV), died on Sunday (29) in Frankfurt after a long illness. Hensel, who served as the Managing Director of the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin, was 70.

A decathlete in his competitive days at the TuS Rotenburg club in Lower Saxony, Hensel began his career at the DLV as a hurdles team leader and national coach before being named the competitive sports director in 1994. From 1998 to 2016, he served first as General Secretary and then as Director General at the DLV in Darmstadt, a period in which he also served as Director of Sports. 

After his career at the DLV, he was appointed to the Executive Board of European Athletics, where he was chairman of the Member Federation Development Commission. 

Hensel also played a major role in the two most recent and hugely successful international athletics events staged in Berlin. He was the Managing Director of the Berlin Organising Committee (BOC) that organised the 2009 World Championships and Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Organising Committee for the 2018 European Championships.

Most recently, Hensel served as a Vice President on the European Athletics Council.

Many of his colleagues in Germany and Europe shared their tributes.

"The death of Frank Hensel is a great loss for the athletics world. For many decades," said DLV President Jürgen Kessing. “Right up until the end, he was involved in a wide variety of functions and enjoyed the highest esteem worldwide. The DLV together with its regional associations expresses its condolences to Hensel's family and his life partner and wishes above all a lot of strength in these difficult times."

"Frank Hensel has left his mark on German athletics for more than two decades, and has earned great merits in the process," said DLV Honorary President Clemens Prokop. "I personally lost a friend and supporter with whom I worked successfully for three decades. His death is a great loss for me. He distinguished himself above all by his great humanity and respectful management style with high competence. He always had an open ear for each individual when it came to solving problems, and he enjoyed great popularity among the DLV staff."

DLV General Director Idriss Gonschinska said: "In 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."

World Athletics Council Member and Interim President of European Athletics Dobromir Karamarinov said his passing was a tragic loss for the athletics community. "Frank was knowledgeable, cooperative, passionate for athletics, a great man."

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: "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."

Coe will pay tribute to Hensel during the World Athletics Council Meeting on Tuesday (1).

World Athletics