Badminton History of the world in Detail

Badminton history

Badminton sport has a long history dating back to 5th century BC and evolved a lot in Asian countries and come to India and is played by people from USA, Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world makes the Badminton the second most popular sports in the world.

Badminton is extremely popular and played regularly by an estimated 220 million people around the world.

Badminton ranks as the 2nd most popular game played after football.

We all played Badminton at least once in our lives. Some might have played it professionally but most of us have played it as kids with our friends, do you remember we made our own rules and played till the last shuttlecock was no longer usable, does this sound the same happened with you.

The game has been such an integral part of our childhood and brings back fond memories. So, let’s go back in time and let’s understand the history behind the game.

The beginning, Ti Jian Zi (shuttlecock) around 5th century BC

Ti Jian Zi played in Chaina shuttlecock around 5th century BC
In the 5th century BC the people in China played a game called “ti jian zi” A direct translation from this word ti jian zi is kicking the shuttle

The first form of Badminton, the shuttlecock was played date back in 5th century BC. A game named Jian Zi, Ti Jian Zi or Jianqiu was played by Chinese people. Ti Jian Zi means kicking the shuttle. It is a form of the game in which its objective is to keep the shuttle from hitting the ground using their feet and other parts of the body but not using hands. Played artistically, among a circle of players in a street or park, with the objective to keep the shuttle ‘up’ and show off skills.

Ti Jian Zi played in China without touching the hand

Over the next 1000 years, this shuttlecock game spread throughout Asia, acquiring a variety of names along the way. Jianzi has been played since the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) and was popular during the Six Dynasties period and the Sui and Tang dynasties. Thus the game has a history of two thousand years. Several ancient books attest to its being played. Since the Song Dynasty (960-1278) the game was renamed to Jianqiu, from the Chinese word for “arrow” that sounds precisely as the word “shuttlecock”.

The new age shuttlecock game of CHINA

(do not get confused it with the modern Badminton, it’s entirely different but has some similarities)

Jianzi the new formal game

Battledore and Shuttlecock

Battledore and Shuttlecock were changed it’s forms several centuries later in the country of China, Japan, India and Greece. At this time a paddle was introduced (considered as the battledore) in this game to hit the shuttlecock (a feathered cork) back and forth many times, without hitting the ground.

Battledore and Shuttlecock Badminton History
Kids playing Battledore and Shuttlecock

The paddles used for Battledore were very similar to the modern Badminton Rackets. They were made by stretching gut (usually catgut) across a wooden frame. The Shuttlecock was manufactured by affixing trimmed and shaped feather to the top of the lightweight cork.

Playing Battledore and Shuttlecock Badminton History

As time goes by, Battledore and Shuttlecock become wider and more popular. In Europe, they named the Battledore and Shuttlecock as “Jeu de volant”.

Types of Battledore and Shuttlecock used to play

Bat and shuttle used to play Battledore and Shuttlecock

Battledore and Shuttlecock equipment used to play Badminton History

oldest shuttlecock used to play in 1840

The history of the “shuttlecock” from 1840 to 2017

In the 19th Century made it’s way to India

In the late 1860s, the said game reached India and was called “Poona” or “Ponnai” played by British military officers in the Indian town of “Poona” (now it’s called “Pune”) at the Ammunition factory in Khadki. They added a net to the ancient game of battledore and shuttlecock and named this new game after the Indian town.

ancient game of battledore and shuttlecock at India 19th century 1860s named Poona

The newly added net divided the playing area into two equal parts; the main purpose of the net is to denote a foul line. Players try to make the Shuttlecock hit the floor on the opponent’s side to gain points.

Ball badminton is a racket game, played with a yellow ball made of wool 27 to 30 grams in weight and from 5 to 5.5cm in diameter, on a court of fixed dimensions 12 by 24 metres (roughly the same size as a tennis court) divided by a net 185 cm (6ft.) high.

The Anglo-Indian game of Poonai raged across British Indian Subcontinent. Historical accounts reveal that the game became popular among the locals as well as the soldiers in Madras, Bombay (modern-day Mumbai), Peshawar, and Calcutta. In other parts of India, the game was also known as Tom Fool, Tam Tam, and Phul (meaning flower, a reference to the Shuttlecock).

The sport is related to a ball game

Across the 1850s, an old form of Poonai or Tam Tam which is similar to Hanetsuki which originated in Japan. The ball game was played mainly by upper classes with a woollen ball to suite the windy and wet outdoor conditions and hit with a rectangular wooden paddle called hagoita. Indian royalty, like the Prince of Tanjore, enjoyed playing Poonai with bright yellow woollen balls.

Ball Badminton also called "Poona" being played in India in the early 1870s
Ball Badminton also called “Poona” being played in India in the early 1870s source

The British Army learned the game Poona of India and retired British soldiers exported this evolved game to England when they went back home and written its first set of rules.

Ponna made it’s way to England in 1867

The British Army took the sport of Poona back in England around the year 1867, the Duke of Beaufort held a lawn party in his country place, Badminton in Gloucestershire, England in 1873

Battledore and Shuttlecock came from India to England in 1867

There the retired army personals returned from India played the game during the party. On that day the game became so popular among the British society’s elite. The new party sport named as “the Badminton game”

Badminton first played at Badminton House Duke of Beaufort Gloucestershire in 1873

The residence was (and is still) called Badminton House, which is how this thrilling sport got the name used today.

Visit the Badminton estate website see it’s luxurious estate, even you can rent it to host a party or wedding event.

North Hall of Badminton House in 2019 where Badminton Played
The duke’s and duchess’s daughters and nieces in the North Hall, Romy Somerset, Bella Somerset, Ella Carr, Rose Somerset, and Hope Coke. Photographed by Simon Upton, Vogue, December 2019 source

The first official set of Badminton rules formed in 1873

George William Vidal, who worked in the Indian Civil Service until 1897 was the Chief Secretary to Lord Harris when Governor of Bombay. He helped frame the laws of shuttle badminton in 1873. Upon retiring back to England in 1897, he became the Secretary and Treasurer of the Badminton Association (England) from 1899 to 1906.

The Field issue of Badminton in a pamphlet entitled a “Handbook of Badminton, with Rules for Playing the Game”, by Major Henry Twiston Forbes, of the Bendall Staff Corps, published in Calcutta by the Great Eastern Hotel Company. This is probably the earliest known set of rules. The whole pamphlet is then printed in the Field, it’s about 3000 words long, and contains three diagrams, these rules were known as the Calcutta rules.

Source: national badminton museum

Another set of Badminton rules formed in 1887

John Henry Eustace Hart was another one of those English badminton player did much valuable work for the game. In 1887 back in England he published a revised edition of the rules and in 1890 together with Mr Bagnel-Wild, made a further revision.

In 1893, the Badminton Association of England come in to picture, took over and revised the rules, and tweaked it more to make it similar to that of today’s rules.

The first badminton competition in the world in 1899

The first badminton competition in the world in 1899 All England Open Badminton Championship

All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, in 1899.

The world’s first open tournament was held in the English town of Guildford in 1898, the success of which paved the way for the All England’s inaugural edition, which was held at London’s Horticultural Halls in 1899.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) formed in 1934

Badminton World Federation (BWF) formed in 1934

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the world governing body for the sport of badminton. The BWF is empowered by the IOC and the BWF’s 177 Members to govern the sport of badminton worldwide.

As of now BWF has 194 member associations around the world (source)

The primary world tournament for badminton is the BWF World Championships, run by the Badminton World Federation. Originally held every three years starting in 1977, it is now held annually, except in Olympic years.

The BWF World Championships are contested in five fields: Men’s Singles and Doubles, Women’s Singles and Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.

Badminton in the Commonwealth Games of 1966

Badminton in the Commonwealth Games of 1966

Badminton was introduced as a Commonwealth Games program sport in Kingston Jamaica in 1966 and has been part of every Commonwealth Games program since then.

There was two set of categories of Badminton – singles (men, women), doubles (men, women) in Commonwealth Games.

Mixed team competitions added to the subsequent Commonwealth Games.

Here you can find participant and winners of Badminton at the Commonwealth Games.

You can watch the action of Badminton in upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games at Birmingham, England.

Olympic History of Badminton

After being a demonstration sport in Munich in 1972, Badminton was officially granted Olympic status in the 1992 Barcelona Games in singles and doubles. Mixed doubles competitions were added at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Badminton officially granted Olympic status in 1992 Barcelona in singles and doubles

Since the appearance of badminton at the Olympics in 1992, athletes from the countries of China, Denmark, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Netherlands and Russia have won medals for this sport see the winners list here.

Here is the Badminton world ranking.

You can enjoy the next Olympic Badminton at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japan.

It’s time to play Badminton

You can have a detailed idea about what is Badminton game of today and what equipment you need to play. Checkout all in the article linked.

Badminton is one of the most popular sports around the world with a wonderful history due to its simple rules and equipment are so affordable, which make more and more people to play it in their leisure time, with a lot of health benefits.

Enjoy your game and as always Buy original. Play original. Be original.