What is the history of Badminton? What are its origins? Where did Badminton come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Badminton.
Badminton is a sport that can be played either individually or as part of a two-person team. Each player is equipped with a specially designed racquet that is used to hit a lightweight object called a shuttlecock over the net. The goal is to score more points than the opponent by successfully hitting the shuttlecock over the net such that the opponent is unable to return it before it hits the ground.
A full badminton contest is known as a match. Matches consist of three games, which are played to 21 points. In order to put the birdie into play and start each point, one team/player begins by serving. This involves hitting the shuttlecock over the net, generally using an underhand motion. Each time the non-serving team or player wins a point, the serve switches over to that team/player for the next point. The process repeats itself until one side manages to score 21 points, while winning by a margin of at least two points.
There are several basic violations to be aware of in badminton. Firstly, double hits are not permitted. In other words, if one player makes contact with the shuttlecock and fails to hit it over the net, the next person to hit the shuttlecock (if playing doubles) must be a teammate. Otherwise, a point is awarded to the opposition. In addition, players are given a maximum of two attempts to clear the net when serving. First serves that land out of bounds or fail to cross the net in the air are ruled faults, at which point a second and final serving chance is awarded. Failure to execute a proper serve within the two attempts alloted results in a point for the opponent.
Badminton's origins can be traced back nearly 2,000 years to Ancient Greece, where early versions of the sport were played for leisure and exercise. However, India is officially credited with the creation of badminton, as this is where poona (the version that most closely resembles modern badminton) was being played at the time. As the sport became more popular, it expanded to other regions of the world, with England, Canda, Germany, Scotland and eventually the United States all adopting their own variations of badminton.
Historians have proved unable to credit a single individual with the invention of badminton. Instead, it is widely believed that high-ranked military officers stationed in India around 1870 created the game as a way to relax and remain physically fit.
Another theory is that badminton did not officially come about until the mid-19th century, when members of the British royal family sought a new activity that required minimal equipment and little preparation/assembly time.
While the principal concept of badminton was likely established nearly 2,000 years ago, the aforementioned version from India came about between 1870-1873, with the latter date marking the creation of the first official set of rules for the sport. Modern rule adaptations were made several decades later in 1893, when the newly formed Badminton Association of England launched the first documented series of formal badminton competitions.
Badminton did become extremely popular until the very end of the 19th century, with the first all-England badminton championships being held in England in 1899. The sport gained further popularity in 1934, as the first world governing body for the sport (the Badminton World Federation) was established to oversee all international competitions.
Badminton began to truly capture the attention of the world in 1972, when it became the latest sport to be added to the Olympic Games. Viewers were at first treated to singles (one-on-one) matches, before the slate of games was soon expanded to feature singles and doubles matches for both men and women.
For a brief overview of the most important facts and events in badminton's history, be sure to check out the timeline provided below.