Badminton History

Badminton History Starts In China

Badminton history started long ago. Take yourself back 2400 years. You live in China. You and a friend are having a hot argument. “That was clearly in,” you say. “No”, says your friend. “That was out”.

The thing that was either in or out was a birdlike object you hit with your feet. The game was called Ti Jian Zi.

Believe it or not, the two of you were playing a game that eventually evolved into badminton.

Battledore Or “The Old Rackets” – The Next Step In Badminton History

Five centuries after your game in China, badminton history took the next step as Ti Jian Zi had morphed into Battledore or “the old rackets”. It was very popular in Japan, India, Greece and China. Two persons played it with small rackets (the battledores) made of parchment or rows of gut stretched on wooden frames. The shuttlecocks used in Battledore were made from some light material such as cork, trimmed with feathers. The object of Battledore was to bat the shuttlecock from one player to the other as many times as possible without allowing it to hit the ground. Doesn’t this sound sort of familiar?

Jeu de Volant

The next stop in badminton history is in the 1500s. European nobility adopted, as a pastime, a game they called Jeu de Volant, which was French for “wheel game”. This was opposed to a game they called jeu de paume (palm game), which evolved into tennis.

Jeu de Volant was played by a maximum of five persons to a side. The ball was hit with the hands and the game’s object was to hit it over the net until it hit the ground or went out of bounds. Just as with badminton today, only the serving side could score a point. A set was 25 points. The winner was the team that won two out of three sets.

Poona

The next step in badminton history is in the mid-19th century. British officers in India were playing a fast-paced game called Poona that was very close to today’s badminton. However, it was the Duke of Beufort who officially introduced the game to England in 1873 at his country estate, Badminton House. The game was a hit and soon became popular among British royalty. People began calling the new sport, “the badminton” game. It was played both indoors and outdoors on a court with an hourglass shape. See more details of badminton history here.

The Bath Badminton Club was formed a few years later and by 1893, there were 14 clubs in England. These clubs came together to form the Badminton Association. This association helped standardize the laws of badminton and founded the earliest (and most prestigious) badminton tournament, the All-England Badminton Championships. You can also read History of Badminton at the Olympics at www.looksmartsports.com/history-of-badminton-at-the-olympics/

Badminton History In America

The first badminton club in the U.S., the Badminton Club of New York, was formed in 1878 and soon become a gathering place for New York’s society leaders. The game’s popularity boomed as YMCAs, educational institutions and hundreds of new clubs offered instruction in badminton.

The sport’s popularity grew even more in the 1930s when people learned that Hollywood stars such as James Cagney, Bette Davis, Boris Karloff, Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, Dick Powell and Douglas Fairbanks were avid players.

USA Badminton

In 1930, the American Badminton Association (ABA) was organized when Donald Wilbur, Robert McMillan and the Richard twins (Donald and Philip), all of Brookline, Massachusetts, decided to unite the nation’s various badminton groups. Programs from Massachusetts, Chicago, New York and the West Coast were brought together to standardize the games’ rules and regulations. The ABA staged its first national championships in 1937, and became a member of the International Badminton Federation (IBF) in 1938.

In 1978, the ABA changed its name to the USBA (United States Badminton Association) and then to USA Badminton in 1996.

Between 1949 and 1967, the U.S. won 23 world individual championships and three women’s world team championships.

In the 1970s, the number of badminton clubs in the U.S. declined a bit. However, many high schools and colleges are now playing the game.

Badminton History: From Ti Jian Zi to Today’s Badminton

If those two Chinese kicking a shuttlecock around in the 4th century BC could watch a game of today’s badminton, they would never recognize it as a descendent of their game. Nevertheless, Ti Jian Zi was the first step in badminton history to today’s sport and we can thank the Chinese for that.

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