History Of Badminton

Badminton History

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 in the mid to late 19th century. As the sport became more popular, it expanded to other regions of the world, with England, Canada, 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.

Badminton Establishment

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.

Popularity of Badminton

Badminton did not 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 a trial sport at the Olympic Games. It was added as an official sport at the 1992 Olympic Games. Viewers were at first treated to singles (one-on-one) matches in 1972, before the slate of games was soon expanded to feature singles and doubles matches for both men and women in 1992. Mixed doubles was added to the Olympic Games in 1996.

Below you will find a list of countries in which badminton is most popular. The five nations that devote the most time and resources to the sport are ranked from one through five:

  1. China
  2. South Korea
  3. Denmark
  4. England
  5. Sweden

List of Key Dates

For a brief overview of the most important facts and events in badminton’s history, be sure to check out the timeline provided below.

  • 1600: Early elements of Badminton are first recorded
  • 1870: Poona (semi-modern version of badminton) is created in India
  • 1873: First official set of rules is established at Bath Badminton Club
  • 1899: Badminton tournaments are first held
  • 1934: Badminton World Federation is formed
  • 1948: Thomas Cup (yearly international badminton competition) takes place for the very first time
  • 1966: Addition of badminton to the Commonwealth Games (yearly competition between former nations of the British Empire)
  • 1972: Badminton is introduced to the Olympic Games as a demonstration sport
  • 1992: Olympic Committee officially adopts badminton as a mainstay for future Olympic events


What is badminton?

Badminton is a racket game similar to tennis in which either two singles opponents or two doubles teams attempt to hit a shuttlecock over a net to win points. The shuttlecock is an apparatus that produces a high amount of drag, which makes the sport unique from racket sports that use balls. The object of the game is to not let the shuttlecock land on your side of the court while also attempting to hit the shuttlecock onto the other team’s side without it landing out of bounds. Badminton is an extremely popular sport internationally, especially in large countries such as India and China. It is also a successful Olympic sport, having made its official debut in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Which country has the most Olympic medals in badminton?

As of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, China currently holds the most Olympic badminton medals out of any country. In total, China has won 47 badminton medals since the sport’s addition to the Olympic Games in 1992. The Chinese Olympic team has won 20 gold medals, 12 silver medals, and 15 bronze medals in badminton over the years. In the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, China brought home six badminton medals, the most of any nation that year. The country with the second most Olympic badminton medals is Indonesia with 21 total medals, less than half of China’s impressive medal count in the sport. 

Who are the best badminton players of all time?

The best badminton players of all time are Lin Dan and Gao Ling. Lin Dan is a badminton player from China who has dominated at the world stage, and is widely considered to be one of the best of all time. By the time he was 28, he had won all nine major badminton tournaments in the world, an incredible feat that few achieve. Lin Dan also has won two Olympic gold medals. Gao Ling is also a badminton player from China and is regarded as one of the best female players to ever play the sport. She won a record four Olympic medals in doubles, two of which were gold.