January 24, 1900: The world’s oldest badminton club is formed in England at the Newcastle Badminton Club. The game is played either with a single person or a pair on each side of a net. The object of the game is to hit the shuttlecock or birdie with a racket over the net and within the boundaries. Play is continued until one side misses hitting the birdie over the net. Only the serving side can score a point.
We don’t know when the game was invented or by whom. It is believed to be an ancient Indian, Grecian, or Chinese game. The game has been in Europe since medieval times. Early rackets were solid, rather than the meshed ones in use today. In the 1850s, British Army officers in Pune, India added the net for an extra challenge. They played often at the Duke of Beaufort’s estate called “Badminton House,” hence the name.
The rules to the game were standardized by the Bath Badminton Club and written up in 1887. By 1893 there was a Badminton Association of England publication with the regulations set down, very similar to today’s rules. The first All England Open Badminton championships were held in 1899, the first of its kind in the world. The International Bedminton Federation was established in 1934 and it is now called the Badminton World Federation. The original nine member nations have since expanded with 159 member associations.
The game is the fastest racket sport. The shuttlecocks can reach a speed up to 200 mph. Fu Haifeng of China set a smash record measured at 206 mph in 2005. the fastest smash recorded during competition was by Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia who smacked the shuttlecock at 189 mph. The fasted win was made by Paul Butler with 15-0, 15-0 games in a qualifying event for All England, which he won in 11 minutes and needed only 32 rallies. Badminton became an Olympic sport in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics.
“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – John Wooden
“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.” – George Orwell
“I don’t know anything that builds the will to win better than competitive sports.” – Richard M. Nixon
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” – Pierre de Coubertin
Also on this day, in 1907 Robert Baden-Powell began the Boy Scouts.