The game of Badminton is an amazing sport. Many countries have played it in different forms over thousands of years. So where and how did this game originate? Lets find out.
In 2500 BC Chinese played a game with leather ball. The aim was to return the ball by hitting it with feet. This game spread to other Asian countries. Stewart Culin mentions Koreans playing the game using cotton ball with clay and single feather as shuttlecock.
Japanese have also been playing this game, but unlike Chinese and Koreans they used wooden bat (called hogoita) instead of feet. Japanese Royal Palace held a match at new year during Muromachi period (1338-1573). Japanese shuttlecocks were made of pieces of finely cut bamboo, bamboo filled with paper or a round coin with feathers.
During 17th century, the game of shuttlecock and battledore was popular pastime in many European countries. Author Philippe de Courcillon records this game being played by French king Louis XIV. The game became popular not only with the nobility but also working classes in Europe.
In 1850’s the family of prince of Tanjore in India played the game of Pooppanthu vilyattam. The game was played in a court with woolen balls. The British in India started playing this game using net and lines. British merged this game with “shuttlecock and battledore”, replacing ball with shuttlecock and introducing different types of racquets.
The game became very popular in the city of Pune, which was a British military base. The game itself was widely known as “Poona” due to its popularity in Pune. A certain Major Forbes sent a book titled “A Handbook of badminton” published in Calcutta to “The Field” magazine in 1873. This book had rules for playing the game of Badminton. British took the game to England. With them the game spread throughout the world.
In 1893 “Badminton association of England” came into existence. The first “All England Badminton Championship” was held in 1899. There were no Men’s singles or Women’s singles matches in this tournament. In 1934, nine countries formed International Badminton Federation (IBF) with India joining as affiliate in 1936. Badminton competitions became part of Olympics in 1992.
- Badminton : An Illustrated History – From ancient pastime to Olympic sport