The History Of Badminton And The First Pioneers

Badminton is a sport that is played either by two opposing single players or by two opposing double players. The players position themselves on opposite parts of a court. The court is rectangular and divided by a net in between.

But before we delve deeper, let us find out where and how it all began.


The history of the sport can be traced back to as early as mid-1800s which was created by the British military officers in British India.

indiathegraphic1874.jpg.w560h403Badminton is somewhat similar to the traditional game called battledoor and shuttlecock whereas the two people played the game with small rackets (battledoor) which are made up of parchment or row of stretched gut across a wooden frame. A shuttlecock has a base made up of a light material such as a cork with attached trimmed feathers on the top. The goal of this game is to hit the shuttlecock to and fro as many times without letting it fall on the ground.

About 2,000 years ago in ancient Greece, game with shuttlecocks originated in this place. Since then, its popularity spread to kingdoms of Indo-Greek to India then going further to the east in China and Siam. When it reached India, the game was modified and a net was placed between the opposing players and it was now called ball badminton.

Ball badminton was similar to battledoor and shuttlecock with regards to the rules and objective, the difference was in the ball that they used. The game was played by the royalties in Tamil Nadu, India whereas instead of the feathered shuttlecock, a yellow ball made of wool was used. They also made a court with fixed dimensions and was divided by a net in the middle.

It is believed that the Gloucestershire Badminton House, which was owned by the Duke of Beaufort gave the game its name but it is still unclear on how and when it came about.

In 1877, England started to play badminton with the set of rules that originated in British India. In 1887, the rules were revised to a standard regulation for English ideas application by J.H.E. Hart and made another revision in 1890 with Bagnel Wild. The first set of rules was published in 1893 by the Badminton Association of England; these rules are similar with what is being followed today. They also launched badminton officially in “Dunbar” in the same year. In 1899, the All England Open Badminton Championships which is the first badminton competition in the world started.

The Badminton World Federation (previously known as the International Badminton Federation) was first established at Canada in 1934 with the founding members such as: Denmark, France, England, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand.  India joined as an associate in 1936. The BFW is the governing body of international badminton at present.


Badminton racquet with shuttlecockBadminton racquet-a handled frame with an open hoop that frames a network of cords (usually nylon) that are stretched tightly. Top quality rackets for badminton are light weighing about 80 to 100 grams only. Newly emerging badminton racquets are made up of a composite  of carbon fibre (plastic reinforced with graphite). Carbon fibre is used due to its exceptional ratio of strength to weight ratio, it is stiff so it gives outstanding kinetic energy transfer to whatever lighter that comes in contact with its surface. There is a lot of designs but the shape and size are limited. Different types of racquets have different technologies in them and are used by different types of players. The old-style oval shape is still accessible but the isometric head is slowly becoming famous.

Shuttlecock – it has 16 feathers fixed in a cork covered in ked leather. The best badminton shuttlecocks are made from the feathers of a goose’s left wing. The feathers are measured equally and should have the same length which can range between 62mm and 70mm. The shuttlecock should weigh between 4.74 to 5.50hrams. Shuttles are usually graded according to their speed. If you have reached a professional level where you can hit from baseline to baseline, you can use shuttlecocks with standard speed but if you are not there yet, a shuttle with faster speed is recommended. The shuttle speed is affected by weather, altitude and temperature.

Court- the court size for a single’s game is 44 feet long by 17 feet wide and for a doubles match; it would be 44 feet long by 20 feet wide. The height of the net between is 5 feet.


badminton-history_1582444iThe sport involves two opponents who will alternately hit the shuttlecock once over the net into the opponents’ side. A point is score when the shuttlecock touches the ground which means that the rally ended. One match is made up of three games with 21 point each. There are five categories in professional badminton: men’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles, women’s singles and women’s doubles. The player nor the racquet should never touch the net during the game. Here are a few additional basic rules to the game.

  • The shuttle should not rest in a players racquet
  • A player is not allowed to reach over the net to hit the shuttle
  • A legal serve should be diagonal
  • During the serve, the shuttle should always be hit below the waist of the server and the server should not touch any lines inside the court
  • A player scores when he wins a rally.
  • A player wins a rally when the shuttle is stroked and the opposing player commits a mistake and fails to hit the shuttlecock over the net or it lands outside the boundary of the court.
  • Each player can only hit the shuttle once over the net to make a move valid
  • A fault is given once the shuttle hits the ceiling

Governing Bodies

The Badminton World Federation is the international governing body of badminton and is responsible for the conduction of tournaments and competitions. There are five regional confederations that are associated with the BMF.

  • ASIA: Badminton Asia Conference
  • AFRICA: Badminton Africa Conference
  • AMERICAS (North and South): Badminton Pan Am
  • EUROPE: Badminton Eurpe
  • OCEANIA: Badminton Oceania

International Tournament:

Level I Tournaments

  • Thomas Cup
  • Uber Cup
  • Sudirman Cup
  • Summer Olympic
  • BWF World Championship
  • World Junior Championship

Level II Tournaments

  • BWF Super Series
  • All-England Championships

Level III Tournaments

  • Grand Prix Gold
  • Grand Prix Event

Level IV Tournament

  • International Challenge
  • International Series
  • Future Series

First Badminton Pioneers

Here is a list of the first badminton pioneers:


Han Jian, Eddie Choong, Yang Yang Zhao Jian Hua, Icuk Sugiarto, Rudy Hartono, Morten Frost, Rexy Manaiky, Ong Ewe Hock, Park Joo Bong, Lim Swie King, Misbun Sidek, Prakash Padukone, Aparna Popat and Pullela Gopichand.


Walter R. Kramer, David G. Freeman, Chester Goss, Hamilton Law, Donald Eversoll, Richard Yeager, Carl Loveday, William Markham, Phillip Richardson, Donald Richardson, LeRoy Erikson, William Faversham, Reaford Haney, Wayne Schell, Clinton Stephens, C. Raynor Hutchinson, Richard Mitchell, Webb Kimball, Roy Lockwood, Barney McCay, Marten Mendez, Wynn Robers, Joseph Alston, Dr. Don Paup, Dr. Jim Poole, Chris Kinard and Dr. Stanton Hales.


G.A. Sautter, F. Chesterton, H.N. Marrett, G.B.S. Mack, Sir George A. Thomas, J.F. Devlin, E. Hawthorn, F. Hodge, D.C. Hume, A.K. Jones, H.G. Uber, R.C.F. Nichols, Ken Davidson and R.M. White.


McTaggart Cowan, Col. A.E. Snell, Dr. H.T. Douglas, Jack Underhill, C.W. Aikmen, Jack Purcell, Douglass Grant, J.W. Taylor, Rod Phelan, Noel Radford, Jack G. Muir, George Goodwin Jr., J.E. Sibbald, James Forsythe, Reginald Hill, Grant Henry, D.W.R. McKean, John Samis, Paul Snyder, James Snyder, Richard Birch, Allan France, Len Schlemm, H.E. Porter, H.K. Pollock, Gordon Simpson, Daryl Thompson, Don Smythe, Alan Williams, Wayne MacDonell, Dave McTaggart, Jamie Paulson, Uves Pare and Bruce Rollick.

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