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Badminton History and Tradition
Badminton was invented in ancient Greece and Egypt as a form of sport. Badminton was originally a child’s game and was initially called “battledore” or “shuttlecock.” Badminton was originally played with a feathered shuttlecock back and forth with small rackets. During the 18th century in India, Badminton was called “poona.” British army officers stationed in India during this period brought this version of Poona back to England during the 1860s. Once he was back in England it spread slowly as the army would meet introducing the sport to friends. It wasn’t until a famous party in 1837 that the game began. The Duke of Beaufort had a party in his country where the sport was played. The country place was called “Badminton in Gloucestershire. At the time of this party, the game had no name, so it was referred to simply as “The Game Of Badminton. “That’s how the game got its official name!
Now that the game had a name, it quickly spread from England to the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Despite its “male” beginnings, the sport is now pretty evenly split with about the same number of women playing the sport as men.
In 1899 the first English championship was held for men and the first tournament for women was organized in 1900. For one reason or another, these two tournaments were deemed unofficial, and it was not until 1904 that the “official” start of the All England games took place. In 1920 there were only around 300 badminton clubs in all of England, but by 1920 there were 500, and amazingly, just 10 years later, there were over 9,000 in the British Isles after the Second World War.
The International Badminton Federation was organized in 1934 with 9 initial members – Canada, England, Holland, Denmark, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and New Zealand. It wasn’t until 1981 that this organization came about because it was just the international governing body of sports. The International Badminton Federation decided, in 1939, that it was time for International competitions, and the president of the IB at the time, Sir George A. Thomas, offered the Baron trophy to the winning team. Ironically enough there was a delay in the first matches of the “Thomas Cup” until the 1948-1949 season due to a shortage of shuttle fees during and after the war. Someone tried to introduce an international women’s team around the same time, but it ended up not being implemented due to financial difficulties. Eventually, during the 1956-1957 season, the “Uber Cup” was held. The Uber Cup was a triennial international tournament for women where the trophy was given by Mrs. HS Uber from England. In 1992 Badminton was contested for the first time as an official Olympic sport in Barcelona, Spain. There are now several world Badminton events including the Uber Cup, World Championships, World Youth, Sudirman Cup, World Cup, and World Grand Prix Finals.
The game of Badminton today resembles tennis and volleyball and involves the use of a net, shuttlecock and light rackets. The shuttle is usually a cork ball fitted with feathers to stabilize it. It is played with either two or four players and is played indoors or outdoors on a marked court approximately 44 feet by 17 feet wide for two players and 20 feet wide for 2 players. The official measurements for the net are that the top edge of the net should be 5 feet 1 inch from the ground at the posts and 5 feet from the ground in the middle. During Badminton play, only the serving team can win a point. If the serving side fails to return the shuttle they lose the serve and if the receiving side does not return they lose the point and will receive again. A Badminton match is played to 15 points, except in women’s singles, which is played to 11 points. If the score is tied towards the end of a game, it can be decided by a procedure called a setup. Placing is a tie breaking procedure that involves different procedures depending on the point at which the score is tied and the rules may be different for men’s and women’s competition.
Badminton has a rich and interesting history, and its popularity is always increasing with the availability of cheap equipment and places to play, almost anyone can enjoy Badminton. New competitions are being planned including the development of an Advanced Series and some “Spectacles.” A YouTube search for badminton produces all sorts of interesting videos and games of play and demonstration.
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