From garden party to badminton

Some say that Badminton has its origin in the ancient Greece and the far eastern countries. It was not like the game we know today though – most likely it was a one mans game where the object was to keep the shuttle from hitting the ground. But the origin is not precisely determined.

In the 5th century BC, the people in china then played a game called ti jian zi. A direct translation from this word 'ti jian zi' is kicking the shuttle. As the name suggest, the objective of the game is to keep the shuttle from hitting the ground without using hand. Whether this sport has anything to do with the History of Badminton is up for debate. It was however the first game that uses a Shuttle.

About five centuries later, a game named Battledore and Shuttlecock was played in China, Japan, India and Greece. This is a game where you use the Battledore (a paddle) to hit the Shuttlecock back and forth. By the 16th century, it has become a popular game among children in England. In Europe this game was known as jeu de Volant.

India has a central place in the development of Badminton. British officers and Government officials posted in India brought the game with them, but it was here the net was added and the game took form as we know it today. There are descriptions of a game very close to Badminton played in the Indian town Poona in the 1860s. They played it in a garden hall with doors opening inwards in the middle with a net dividing to court into to halves the same size. From this arrangement the badminton court got its original shape – an hourglass. The shape of the court as we know today was introduced in 1901.

The British officers and Government officials brought back with them the newest development in the game and in 1873, the Duke of Beaufort held a garden party in his country place, Badminton. A game like the one played in Poona was played on that day and became popular among the British society's elite. The new party sport became known as "the Badminton game". In 1877, the Bath Badminton Club was formed and developed the first official set of rules.

The first badminton association in the world was founded in England in 1893. It was called the Badminton Association and worked as the world federation until 1934 where the International Badminton Federation (now Badminton World Federation) was founded by 9 countries – amongst them Denmark.

The first tournament ever played was in England in 1898. In 1899 “The Badminton Association Tournament” was played for the first time – what we now know as “The All England Championships”.

The Danish players participated in The All England in 1935 for the first time – without success – but only 3 years later in 1938 the success started. Since that year – except from the years during the Second World War where The All England wasn’t played – the Danes have celebrated many victories on English soil and the latest was Tine Rasmussen’s victory in women’s singles in 2008.

Since the beginning Badminton has become much more organised with badminton associations in almost every country trying to develop the sport and taking it into the next level.

Badminton became an Olympic Sport in 1992 and ever since – except in Beijing 2008 – a Danish player/constellation has taken a medal.

Changing the scoring system now playing best of 3 sets with running score has added that extra level. It has become more adjusted to the demands of television producers, more lively and exciting to watch for the spectators and if the sport keeps developing it self and the setup, a bright future lies ahead. 


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