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History of Badminton

Sahar Ali

Volume 4 Issue 4

May 29, 2024

History of Badminton

Image Provided by Navrosedip Kundlas

Have you ever wondered about the history of your favorite sport(s)? Growing up, I always played badminton; I recall waiting for the weather to get warmer to go outside, pull out my racket and hit shuttlecocks with my father or sister. After playing the sport for so long, and daily during the spring season for North’s Girls Varsity Badminton team, I sat at my desk pondering about how the sport came to be: Where did badminton originate? Who created the sport? What types of people played it?  

Let’s get into the basics of the sport. Badminton is typically played either on a court or lawn with a racket along with the shuttlecock, often called a “birdie”. Historically, the first rackets made for the sport were composed of a piece of wood and strings made of animal guts. To make a player comfortable while holding a badminton racket, a piece of cloth was wrapped around the handle. The racket was modified and made lighter with the use of aluminum or steel until the 1950s when carbon fiber completely changed the production of rackets. The shuttlecock is better known as a “bird” or a “birdie.” When the game first came to be, the shuttlecock was composed of unrefined bird feathers, weighing only around 5 grams. Now, many shuttlecocks are made out of synthetic materials, but many players continue to use goose feather shuttlecocks.  

The sport can be traced back 2000 years; however, the most modern version of badminton is traced back to 1873, England. The Duke of Beaufort is said to have brought the sport to England from India. Britain had many colonies including India, which resulted in the mixture of cultures and ideas. The sport is said to have roots in ancient Greece, China, and India and is similar to battledore and shuttlecock, an old children’s game. 

During Britain’s rule in India, English army officers began to play Poona while stationed throughout the colony in the 1860s; this is where badminton was derived from. As the sport diffused from South Asia to Europe, badminton gained severe popularity in England. In 1899, the first men’s badminton championship was held, which was further followed by a women’s tournament in 1900.  

Later during the 20th century, in 1934, the Badminton World Federation (BWF), was formed; it was formerly known as the International Badminton Federation and is the world administration for the sport. Badminton tournaments ranging from regionals to nationals take place in many countries, but the most famous includes the All-England Championships. More international badminton tournaments include the Thomas Cup, the first international badminton tournament for men, which took place 14 years later in 1948 after the creation of the BWF. Following in 1956, the Uber Cup took place, which was the first international badminton tournament for women. Badminton has gained popularity in Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and in European countries such as Denmark.  

The rules of the sport have evolved. Until 2001, players could score only up to 15 points, however, the scoring system has changed, requiring players to score up to 21 points in a rally in which a lead of two points is needed to win a game. The rules for serving have changed since 2006 as well; players were allowed to serve overhead in 1983, but in 2006, the serve was required to be below the server’s waist.  

Like all things, badminton too has evolved, all the way from rackets and shuttlecocks to the rules and regulations of the game.  



Badminton | History, Rules, Equipment, Facts, & Champions | Britannica 

Badminton, A historical glimpse into the sport’s changing face over the decades ( 


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