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History of badminton

History of Badminton: From Origin to Olympic Debut

From its origin as “Battledore and shuttlecock”, a close version of badminton to modern badminton, it’s a long history of badminton. It started the journey 150 years ago i.e. in 1870. It is within the list of the world’s top 10 most popular sports and in India, it emerges as the 2nd most popular sport, just behind cricket.

One question that may arise in your mind is the history of badminton. Before going to the past, let’s remind ourselves what badminton is:

What is Badminton?

Badminton is a sport that is played on a surface marked with specified dimensions called the badminton court. The aim of the game is to hit a shuttlecock with the help of a strung racket to cross over the net with the intention to land on the specified area of the opponent’s side.

It involves two players for the singles and four players for the doubles.

Who invented Badminton?

“Poona”, a popular game in Poona, a garrison town in India in the 1870s was played with the help of a small racket to hit a shuttlecock with certain rules. In 1873, the Duke of Beaufort introduced the game, “Poona” to his guests at a lawn party held at his estate in Gloucestershire, England. The name of the game came from his house on the estate, “Badminton”.

1790 – 1893: History of Invention of Badminton

This timeline on the history of badminton will give you a brief idea about the development of the game over the years.

Timeline of the history of badminton

Origin of the History of Badminton

Battledore and shuttlecock, a game played with the help of a racket for hitting a shuttlecock
Battledore and shuttlecock game
  • “Battledore and shuttlecock”, the origin of modern badminton was introduced in India, China, and Japan in the year 1790. It was played by two or more people by using “Battledore”, a small racket with cords stretched around a wooden frame to hit a light shuttlecock, a group of feathers fixed around a base made with the light material for continuing a rally.
  • This game attracted the attention of British army officers and they enjoyed the game in the 1860s centuries.
ball badminton, a variant of badminton
  • In 1850, ball badminton, another version of badminton was played with a woolen ball instead of a shuttlecock. It was first introduced in the southern zones of India. It was growing popular at that time and 1870s, the expatriate officers in British India preferred this game in windy or wet conditions.

When were the Rules of Badminton Introduced?

  • The game of “Battledore and shuttlecock” was modified by the British by adding a net. The modified game was known as “Poona”. Poona (Now Puna) was an army-based small town in India where the game was very popular. The rules in badminton were first implemented to play the game, Poona.
  • The soldiers who returned from British India introduced the game in England which got the attention of the Duke of Beaufort. 
  • In 1873, the Duke of Beaufort introduced the game to his guests at a lawn party held at his estate in Gloucestershire. The name of the game came from the house on the estate, “Badminton”.
  • The army officers who returned to England from British India formed the Bath Badminton Club, 1st dedicated badminton club in 1875.
  • In 1887, J. H. E. Hart of the Badminton Club in Bath, England first revised the rules in badminton from the rules introduced in Poona. In 1890, the rules were again revised by Hart and Bagnel.

1983 – 1996: History of Modern Badminton

This is the era when badminton was officially recognized with the formation of the Badminton World Federation (BWF). This game gained huge popularity and its introduction in the Olympics gave the boost to become one of the most popular sports in the world.

Formation of the Badminton World Federation (BWF)

  • In 1893, the Badminton Association of England (BAE) was formed and officially launched badminton with those rules in Portsmouth, England. Six years later, in 1899, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) was formed.
  • All England Open Badminton Championship, the first-ever badminton competition, was held for the doubles and mixed doubles in the men’s and ladies’ categories in 1899. In 1900, the singles game in both categories was also added.
  • In 1934, the International Badminton Federation was established with England, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, France, Scotland, Wales, and New Zealand which was later renamed as Badminton World Federation (BWF). India joined as an affiliate member in 1936.

Badminton Became an Olympic Sport

Badminton played in the Olympics
  • Badminton was introduced in the summer Olympics games in Barcelona, Spain in 1992 with the men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, and woman’s doubles categories. The mixed doubles event was added in 1996.


I have tried to give you a glimpse of the history of badminton. If you know anything more, please let me know in the comment box below.

Also Read: “Is Badminton an Indoor or Outdoor Game?

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