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  • Badminton drives its name from the duke of Beaufort’s house at Badminton in Gloucestershire, where it developed from the ancient children’s game of battledore and shuttlecock.

  • It became popular with the British Army in India, and in the Puna in the mid-1870s the first rules were drawn up.

  • It became an Olympic sport in 1992, badminton’s two main international events were the Thomas Cup, the equivalent competition for women.


  • The singles court is not as wide as that used for doubles, but in singles the service courts are longer, stretching all the way to the back boundary lines.

  • A standard badminton court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. The narrower singles court is marked out inside the doubles court.

  • It is similar game to tennis, with serving areas marked out. There is 14-feet-high net across the court.


  • Badminton is played with a racquet and shuttlecock. The racquet has a much smaller hitting area than a tennis racquet and is very light.

  • The shuttlecock is even lighter: the base weighs just 3 grams.


  • The first to win two out of three games wins the match. In each game the winner is the first to 15 points (11 points in women’s singles). Points can only be won by the serving side. If a series of shots is won a point is scored and the server keeps serve until a point is lost. Then the opposition takes over.

  • In doubles the serve moves to your partner at the first point lost; if they lose a point it moves to the opposition. If the game is close and the score becomes 13-13 a device called ‘setting’ is used. This is a decision by the non-server either to play through to the first to reach 15 points, or ‘set’ and play a further five points through to 18. This also applies if the score reaches 14-14 but only three points can be added here.


  • Malaysia, Indonesia, China and latterly South Korea have dominated world badminton.

  • In 1922 South Korean Park Joo-Bong, born in 1964, won the doubles title at the Olympics with his partner Kim Moon-Soo. This was the culmination of Park Joo-Bong winning a record number of world titles from 1985 through to 1991 in men’s and mixed doubles.


  • It was to be a fine pairing. On 4 August 1992, Susi Susanti won the first ever Olympic gold for Indonesia in the women’s badminton singles at Barcelona. Her future husband, Allan Budi, won the men’s singles gold.

  • The British badminton player Sir George Thomas held 21 men’s titles, a record, between 1903 and 1928. He was the donor of the famous Thomas Cup for the sport. He proved an all-round sportsman, also representing England at tennis and … chess!

  • The Devlin family of England achieved a record 35 titles in the All-England championships between them from 1922. Judy Devlin made the achievement international when she won 29 US titles!

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