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History

Badminton has its history in a variety of sports. The ancient Chinese played a game called Ti Zian Ji in 500BC, in which a shuttle was kicked with the feet. This may have spawned the development of battledore and shuttlecock – popular games in China, Japan, India and Greece from the turn of the first millennium to the Middle Ages, when they became known as ‘jeu de volant’ in mainland Europe.

The closest modern variant of badminton was an Indian game called Poona, which was brought to England by British army officers in the middle of the 1800s. The Duke of Beaufort was one of its biggest fans, and played the game in the grounds of his stately home, Badminton House in Gloucestershire. A few years later, the Bath Badminton Club drew up the rules that form the basis of today’s game.

 

Olympic History

Badminton made its Olympic debut as a demonstration event in the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, Germany. It joined the rosta of sports full-time at the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain, and has quickly become a popular part of the schedule. Athletes from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea have tended to dominate the medal tables, due to the popularity of the sport in the region.

Technical

Badminton matches are played between two players, or two teams of two players for doubles games. Doubles games can be either single sex or mixed.

Matches are played on a court that is 6.1m wide and 13.4m long, with specific markings for singles and doubles matches. The playing area for singles matches is slightly narrower than the full court at 5.18m width, but the playing area for doubles matches uses the full dimensions of the court.

In the middle of the court is a net that is 1.55m high. To score a point, players have to hit the shuttlecock over the net so that it lands on the opponent’s court.

All matches are played to the best of three games, meaning that a player or team has to win two games of 21 points each to win the match. A game has to be won by a player or pair having two clear points over their opponent. If this isn’t the case, there’s an option to continue play up to 29 points, at which time there’s a sudden-death playoff for the final 30th point.

equipment

Uniform

There are few restrictions on clothing for badminton matches, however players tend to wear shorts or skirts and short sleeved t-shirts, along with specialist non-marking badminton shoes.  Older regulations, stipulated that clothing had to be at least 75 per cent white but this is no longer a requirement of the modern game.

Shuttlecock

The shuttlecock formed in the shape of a cone is made from a small piece of cork with a diameter of 25 to 28 millimetres, coated with leather. It is made up from 16 feathers from the left wing of a goose or duck, which are 70 millimetres in length

Racquet

Badminton racquets have progressed from a simple wooden construction to being built with sophisticated lightweight materials such as aluminium, graphite and titanium. Racquets weight range but are normally between 70 and 100 grams

The court

Badminton matches are played on a court that is 6.1m wide and 13.4m long, with specific markings for singles and doubles matches. The playing area for singles matches is slightly narrower than the court at a width of 5.18m, while the playing area for doubles matches uses the full court width and length. There must be a clearance of 2 metres on all sides and a ceiling height of at least 12 metres for high shots.

The net

The net in the middle of the court is 76cm wide, and is made of a fine mesh of dark-coloured cord, so that it can be seen through, while remaining visible at all times. At the top of the net is a white strip to clarify its position. The net is held rigid by a pair of posts either side of the court, with its top at a height of 1.55m

rules

Field of play

Matches are played on a court that is 6.1m wide and 13.4m long, with specific markings for singles and doubles matches. The playing area for singles matches is slightly narrower than the full court at a width of 5.18m, but the playing area for doubles matches uses the full dimensions of the court. The court is divided into two equal halves by a net attached to the posts at a height of 1.55 m.

Umpires and judges

An umpire, aided by a service judge and 10 line judges, presides over a badminton match. Before the beginning of the contest, the umpire flips a coin. The winning athlete or doubles pair has three options: choose its side of the court, choose to serve first or choose to receive first.

Matches

Matches are fought on a ‘best of three’ basis, with the winner being the first to win two games. Recent changes to the rules means all games are played to 21 points, but a game has to be won by a player or pair having two clear points over their opponent. If this isn’t the case, there’s an option to continue play up to 29 points, at which time there’s a sudden-death playoff for the final 30th point.

Serving

Serves in badminton have to be made from below the waist – i.e. underhand rather than overhand – and the player’s feet must be touching the ground. Serves must be made from an area defined by the centreline and the serving lines on the court. They are made diagonally towards their opponent, alternating between the right and left-hand side of the court as points are scored.

Scoring

To score a point, a player or pair has to hit the shuttlecock over the net with their racquet so that it lands in their opponent’s playing area. Points are lost if the shuttlecock hits the net, lands outside the court’s boundaries, or if a player commits a fault such as striking the shuttlecock or net with part of their body or hitting the shuttlecock twice.

Previously, only the holder of the serve could win points. If they lost a rally, they would lose the serve and their opponent would have the opportunity to try and win a point. This could make matches long and drawn-out, though. Under the new system either the server or non-server can score points, with the next serve being made by whoever scored the last point.

Breaks

Between each game, there is a two-minute break for players, with a mid-game break of 60 seconds when the first player or pair reaches 11 points.

Tied games

The first player or pair to reach 21 points wins a game, but they must have a two-point margin over their opposition. If the score for a game reaches 20-20, then play continues until one side has the two-point advantage. If the score goes all the way up to 29-29, the winner is the first to reach 30 points.

Techniques

The best strategy for badminton is to make your opponent work harder than you, using a mix of long, short, high and low shots to get them reacting to your moves. Powerful strokes, such as the ‘clear’ send the shuttlecock to the back of the court, ‘drop’ shots fake a slow pass just over the top of the net, while defensive ‘lift’ shots put the shuttlecock into the air prompting the use of the most decisive shot – the ‘smash’. In this, the player jumps to meet the shuttlecock mid-air, smashing it down into their opponent’s court, giving them little time to react.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Gail and her partner Nathan Robertson won a silver medal in the Mixed Doubles at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in a thrilling final. Gail's sights are now firmly set on Beijing 2008 when she aims to win the Gold that they were so close to w...

Chris Adcock teamed up with Imogen Bankier to win mixed doubles silver at the 2011 World Championships.

A Chelsea FC fan, Adcock played football for Leicester City and Nottingham Forest as a junior while he won his first English Nationa...

Our Results

Total: 2 medals
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
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  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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