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If we were to remove tennis and badminton from the list of racquet sports, many people around the world might not even have the slightest idea of the different games that might be there one list. The fact that people around are familiar with these sports is not because of their effective marketing but due to their deep roots in history.
To get a quick sneak peek into badminton history, you can watch this video:
Among the two, badminton has the most fascinating history that dates back all the way to the 18th century. Let’s jump right into it.
Origin of Badminton:
As we have already it above the game was invented in the 1870s and it was invented in the land of mystery, India. This is the farthest the game’s exact origin can be traced back, but its original version has been ancient times.
Shuttlecock games were played across Eurasia from centuries, but the modern version of the game was developed was derived from the game of ‘battledore and shuttlecock’. Battledore was a term for racquets in olden times.
The modern racquets are an upgraded version of the old ones, and they come with additional benefits and features that boost the performance of the players. However, it is easy to get confused with the wide variety of racquets that are available in the market. Hence, you need to look for the essential factors that make a racquet ideal for playing.
Image credit: Wikipedia
The name Badminton was coined from the Duke of Beaufort’s Badminton House in Gloucestershire, but the reason behind the name is unknown to date.
The name stuck to the game when a toy dealer named Isaac Spratt from London published a book called Badminton Battledore – A New Game, in the year 1860. Sadly, no copy of the book is said to have survived in recent times.
There was an article published in the year 1863, by The Cornhill Magazine which described the game as “battledore and shuttlecock played with sides, across a string suspended some five feet from the ground”.
Foundation of modern badminton:
The modern badminton is said to have been developed in British India among the expatriate officers and it became very popular by the 1870s.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
There was another version of the game which was played around the year 1850s and was called ‘Ball Badminton’ in the region of Thanjavur. It was played with a woolen ball instead of a shuttlecock. The game was played interchangeably by the British and the woolen ball was preferred when the weather was windy or wet.
Earlier, the game was named Poona or Poonah after a small town in India, as it was very popular, and the rules of the game were created in the year 1873.
When the officers returned to India in the year 1875, the started clubs in Folkestone. In its initial version, the game was played with 1-4 number of players on each side. Later the number of players was fixed as 2 or 4 to get the most out of the game.
Initially, the shuttlecock that was used in the Indian version of the game was coated with Indian Rubber for outdoor games and was weighted with lead. There was no fixed height of the nets at that time, but they were supposed to reach the ground.
Formation of the Badminton Association of England:
This stage was very important in the history of badminton. As it was during this time the game was outlined and became a worldwide phenomenon.
In 1887, J.H.E. Hart of the Bath Badminton Club created the first revised rules of the game which was until now being played under the Pune rules. The rules were revised again in the year 1890, by Hart and Bagnel Wild.
The Badminton Association of England (BAE) published these rules in the year 1893 and launched the sport officially at a sporting house called ‘Dunbar’ in Portsmouth on 13th September.
Shortly after the launch, BAE started the first competition ‘All England Open Badminton Championships’ in 1899 for gentlemen’s doubles, ladies’ doubles, and mixed doubles. The singles championship was later added in the year 1900.
The Badminton Association of England organized the first England-Ireland championship in the year 1904.
Transition from Badminton Association of England to Badminton World Federation:
As years passed on more countries started hearing about the game and started playing it. Within a few years, countries like England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand became the founding members of the International Badminton Federation in 1934.
Image Credits: Huffington Post
The organization later changed the name to Badminton World Federation and is governed by it. India became an affiliate in the year 1936.
Even though the modern version of badminton was first played in England, the men’s badminton segment in Europe is mostly won by Denmark. Worldwide the Asian countries have taken the lead by winning most titles.
Image Credits: Team USA
Countries like China, Denmark, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Taiwan (as Chinese Taipei), and Japan have been known to create world-class players that compete fiercely in all kinds of competition.
Currently, China has the strongest team of men and women competitors, followed by Indonesia, Denmark, South Korea, and England.
The game has different levels of competition, that decide the magnitude of the competition and demonstrate a player’s proficiency. Level one competition comprises the SuperSeries Finals which consists of the best players in the world.
To learn more about the history of badminton competitions, you can watch this video:
Level two has major tournaments like the BWF Super Series that enables world-class players to qualify for the Super Series Finals. Whereas, level three consists of Grand Prix Gold and Grand Prix event where players can gather points to get a chance to participate in the BWF Super Series.
Badminton also has level four tournaments, that encourage the young players to participate and compete against top players from around the world.
Badminton is a great sport for recreation and maintaining fitness. Young people can also consider becoming professional badminton athletes as it has more scope as compared to tennis. I hope the above information has helped you gain useful insights into the history of badminton.
If you have any queries or suggestions, you can write them in the comments.