BADMINTON was invented long ago; a form of sport played in ancient Greece and Egypt. Badminton came from a child's game called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two players hit a feathered shuttlecock back and forth with tiny rackets. The game was called "POONA" in India during the 18th Century, and British Army Officers stationed there took the Indian version back to England in the 1860's. The army men introduced the game to friends, but the new sport was definitely launched there at a party given in 1873 by the Duke of Beaufort at his country place, "Badminton" in Gloucestershire. During that time, the game had no name, but it was referred to as "The Game of Badminton," and, thereupon, Badminton became its official name.
Until 1887 the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India. They were, from the English viewpoint, somewhat contradictory and confusing. Since a small army of badminton players had been recruited, a group formed itself into the Bath Badminton Club, standardized the rules, made the game applicable to English ideas and the basic regulations, drawn up in 1887, still guide the sport. In 1895, the Badminton Association (of England) was formed to take over the authority of the Bath Badminton Club, and the new group made rules, which now govern the game throughout the world.
Badminton quickly spread from England to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and made big strides in Europe. Although men first played it, women became enthusiastic about it, and interest now is about equally divided.
The first All-England championship for men was held in 1899 and in 1900 the pioneer tournament for women was arranged. These, however, were regarded as "unofficial" and 1904 marked the beginning of the official All-England matches. The growth of badminton's popularity in the British Isles is evidenced by the fact that in 1920 there were 300 badminton clubs in England, about 500 in 1930, and over 9,000 in the British Isles soon after the World War II.
In 1934, the International Badminton Federation (IBF) was organized with nine members - Canada, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. Membership grew steadily year after year. It became the sport's sole international governing body in 1981. The International Badminton Federation (IBF) decided in March 1939, that the time had arrived for the inauguration of international competition. Its president, Sir George A. Thomas, Baronet, offered a trophy for the winning team. The war and post-war shortages of shuttlecocks delayed the first Thomas Cup matches until the 1948-49 season. The idea of a women's international team badminton championship along the lines of the Thomas Cup was broached in 1950. It was turned down then because of financial problems. The topic continued to be brought up and eventually it was decided to establish the tournament on a triennial basis. Mrs. H. S. Uber of England donated the trophy, which is called the Uber Cup. The first tournament was held during the 1956-57 season. Since then, the number of world events has increased to seven, with the addition of the Uber Cup (ladies' team), World Championships, Sudirman Cup (mixed team), World Juniors, World Grand Prix Finals and the World Cup. Badminton was first contested as an official Olympic sport at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain.
Badminton is a game that somewhat resembles tennis and volleyball and involves the use of a net, lightweight rackets, and a shuttlecock, a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers. It is played by two or four players, either indoors or outdoors, on a marked-out area 44 ft (13.41 m) long by 17 ft (5.18 m) wide for the two-player game and 20 ft (6.10 m) wide for the four-player game. A net is fixed across the middle of the court, with the top edge of the net set to a height of 5 ft (1.52 m) from the ground at the center and 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) at the posts. The players hit the shuttlecock back and forth over the net with the rackets. Only the serving side can win a point. If the serving side fails to return the shuttlecock, it losses the serve; if the receiving side fails to return the shuttlecock, it losses the point and must receive again.
A game is played to 15 points, except in women's singles, in which a game is played to 11 points. If the score is tied near the end of a game, the game may be decided through a tie breaking procedure called setting, which involves different rules for men's and women's competition and depending on the point at which the score is tied.
New competitions are planned including one-off spectaculars and the development of a SuperSeries. It is anticipated that these will attract greater sponsorship, prize money and television. In these days of mass communications, the importance of television to a world sport is self-evident. Television brings the action, the excitement, and the explosive power of badminton into homes around the world. It pulls in the crowd to see the action live; it pulls in major sponsors.
Badminton has a rich history and its future looks even brighter
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