Badminton is one of the most popular racket sports in the world. According to Nielsen Sports in 2019, more than 300 million people are reported to play badminton regularly, making badminton one of the sports with the highest participation rate among other sports.
The origins of badminton
According to the Badminton World Federation, badminton originates from the ancient civilizations of Europe and Asia. This sport evolved from the battledore and shuttlecock, where roots date back thousands of years in China and other Asian countries.
In the 1600s, battledore and shuttlecock was an upper-class pastime in England and many European countries. Battledore and shuttlecock involved two people hitting a shuttlecock backward and forwards with a simple bat as many times as possible without allowing it to hit the ground.
It is unclear where contemporary badminton as we know it today came from. That’s because the transition from battledore and shuttlecock to badminton takes place gradually, not just in one place.
In the early 1800s, the battledore was introduced by the Duke of Beaufort at his stately Badminton House in Gloucestershire, England. The game became popular, and at some point, it is said that a “net” was erected, and this became part of the game.
In almost the same period as the popular parlor game battledore in England, British India (now India) developed a game closer to modern badminton.
The game was called “Poona” and was developed among expatriate officers. The game’s rules were written in 1873 and are considered the first rules of badminton.
In March 1898, the first open tournament was held in Guildford, Surrey, and the first All England Badminton Championship was held the following year. All England has been named the oldest badminton tournament in the world and is considered one of the most prestigious.