The history of the development of modern badminton is a very long and complex one. Below is a brief account of the history of the game.
Origins of the Game
The sport of badminton has its origins in ancient civilisations in Europe and Asia. The ancient game known as battledore (bat or paddle) and shuttlecock probably originated more than 2000 years ago.
In the 1600s Battledore and Shuttlecock was an upper class pastime in England and many European countries. Battledore and Shuttlecock was simply two people hitting a shuttlecock backwards and forwards with a simple bat as many times as they could without allowing it to hit the ground.
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. It is played by two or four players, either indoors or outdoors, on a marked-out area 44 ft (13.41 m) long by 17 ft (5.18 m) wide for the two-player game and 20 ft (6.10 m) wide for the four-player game. A net is fixed across the middle of the court, with the top edge of the net set to a height of 5 ft (1.52 m) from the ground at the center and 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) at the posts.
Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents’ half of the court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. A rally ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor.
The shuttlecock (or shuttle) is a feathered projectile whose unique aerodynamic properties cause it to fly differently than the balls used in most racquet sports; in particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly than a ball. Shuttlecocks have a much higher top speed, when compared to other racquet sports. Because shuttlecock flight is affected by wind, competitive badminton is played indoors. Badminton is also played outdoors as a casual recreational activity, often as a garden or beach game.
A contemporary form of badminton – a game called ‘Poon’, was played in India in the 1800s where a net was introduced and players hit the shuttlecock across the net. British officers in the mid 1800’s took this game back to England and it was introduced as a game for the guests of the Duke of Beaufort at his stately home ‘Badminton’ in Gloucestershire, England where it became popular.
In March 1898, the first Open Tournament was held at Guildford the first ‘All England’ Championships were held the following year. Denmark, the USA and Canada became ardent followers of the game during the 1930s.
IBF Established in 1934
Then in 1934, the International Badminton Federation was formed, with the initial members including England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Canada, New Zealand and France, with India joining as an affiliate in 1936.
The first major IBF tournament was the Thomas Cup (world men’s team championships) in 1948. Since then, the number of world events has increased with the addition of the Uber Cup (women’s team), World Championships (individual events), Sudirman Cup (mixed team), World Junior Championships and the World Grand Prix Finals.
Commonwealth Games Sport – 1966
Badminton was introduced as a Commonwealth Games program sport in Kingston Jamaica in 1966 and has been part of every Commonwealth Games program since then. Initially all five disciplines were included – singles (men, women), doubles (men, women) and mixed doubles with the Teams Event included in the program in later Commonwealth Games.
Olympic Games Sport – 1992
Badminton is a relatively new Olympic Games sport. After being a demonstration sport in Munich in 1972, badminton became an Olympic sport in Barcelona in 1992 with the singles and doubles disciplines introduced for the first time in the Olympic Games. In Atlanta in 1996, a mixed doubles event was included and this is the only mixed doubles event in all of the Olympic sports.
Only five countries have won the gold medals since its introduction in 1992 – China (8), Indonesia (5) and Korea (5) and Denmark (1).
Susi Susanti from Indonesia won the women’s singles in Barcelona, becoming Indonesia’s first medallist in the 40 years Indonesia had competed at the Games. In the same Olympic Games, Alan Budi Kusama won Indonesia’s second gold medal in the men’s badminton singles.