History of Badminton

The game of Badminton has a very interesting history dating back to 18th century India where it evolved from two childrens games, battledore and shuttlecock. In these games, a shuttlecock was kept in volley across a line using small rackets.

At that time, the game was known as ‘POONA’, named for a city southeast of Bombay. During this time British military officers stationed there became attracted to the game, taking the concept home with them.

In 1873 the first game in England was played at Badminton, the estate of The Duke of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, referred to as ‘The Badminton Game’. At this time, the game was played according to rules (created in India) brought home by the soldiers.

Around 1877 controversy arose stemming from disagreements over India rules versus British ideas, which resulted in the formation of the Bath Badminton Club whose mission was to adapt and formalize rules and regulations for play. It is interesting to note that these rules and regulations still govern badminton today.

The first championship game for men was played in 1899 soon to be followed by a championship game for women first played in 1900. Official tournament match play was not formally established until 1904. By the year 1920, there were 300 badminton clubs in England which grew across the British Isles to 9,000 by the end of World War II.

As the game of badminton began to attract enthusiasts from other countries, around 1934 ‘The International Badminton Federation’ (IBF) was formed. The idea of awarding trophies began in England with the first being donated by Sir George A. Thomas, Baronet, which became known as the ‘Thomas Cup’. The game of badminton did not escape the shortage of materials and manufacturing processes experienced worldwide during WWII since rackets and shuttlecocks became almost non-existent. This in turn caused the first ‘match season’ to be postponed until 1948-49. The first ‘womens season’ did not occur until 1956-57. Other trophies were created such as the ‘Uber Cup’ named for Mrs. H.S.Uber, which was created for women. Additional trophy cups still awarded today are the ‘Sudirman Cup’ for mixed teams, the World Cup, World Junior Cup, and Grand Prix Cup.

Perhaps the greatest achievement for the game of badminton was its acceptance as an official sport by The Olympic Association in 1992. The five events include men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.­