Badminton

 

Badminton, played with a racquet and a shuttlecock - a device made of rubber with a crown of feathers - is officially the fastest racquet sport in the world. Shuttlecock speeds have reached 332km/h so competitors need razor sharp reflexes to successfully hit it back and forth over a net.

The game is also a major test of fitness and stamina. Despite some similarities with tennis, which is played on a larger court, badminton players cover a greater distance during a match. They can cover anywhere up to 6km per match due to frequent long rallies.

At the top level, players use a combination of power and skill to win points. The overhead smash may be the crowd pleaser, but this shot can only be set up by more subtle strokes.

The dropshot or netshot is often used, while expert players learn to disguise their strokes to confuse their opponents.

Competition badminton is almost always played in an indoor environment to prevent the wind from affecting the flight of the shuttlecock. Badminton is also enjoyed outdoors, however, played in parks and back gardens all over the world.

 History

Badminton is named after Badminton House, where the game was first played in England in the 1850s. However, badminton evolved from the ancient Chinese game of Ti Jian Zi, the first game to have used a shuttlecock. In a game of Ti Jian Zi, players used only their feet to stop the shuttlecock from touching the ground.

British children had played Battledore and Shuttlecock since medieval times, working together using Battledores (paddles) to keep the shuttle in the air. British soldiers in India modified this game into an adult competitive sport in the 19th century by introducing a net. The Bath Badminton Club published the first official set of rules in 1877 and the Badminton Association of England was formed 16 years later.

Badminton debuted as a demonstration sport at the 3rd Asian Games in Tokyo in 1958 and became a competitive event at the 4th Asian Games in Djakarta, Indonesia four years later.

Badminton featured as a demonstration sport at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and became an official Olympic sport at Barcelona in 1992.

 Rules

Games begin with an underarm serve, with the first server decided by a coin toss. The server aims to clear the net and land the shuttlecock in the opposite service area. The opponent must return before it hits the ground.

The rally then continues until a player wins the point by hitting the shuttlecock onto the court on the opponent's side, or forces their opponent to hit the shuttlecock either into the net or out of play.

Badminton's scoring system changed in December 2005. Previously players could only score a point on their own service. Under the new "rally point" system, a player can gain a point even if they did not serve for that particular point.

Games are played up to 21 points. If each player reaches 20 points, the game continues until one player is two points ahead. If both players reach 29 points, the next point is the winner. Matches are decided on the best of three games.

 Dimension