Badminton: The Game of Empire
Bring 300 years of history into your backyard this summer. Go outside and think grassy lawns and starched white muslin frocks, boaters and pith helmets, the officers club, the Calcutta club the memsabs and squads of servants, a chota-peg of gin and tonic, Pims no.1, and the gentle tock tock of a shuttle cock being flicked over a high net.
How did Badminton start?
Ahhhhhh the glories of the raj. The memories are slowly disappearing into bad novels and the poetry of Kipling echoing in the boots of the troops. But one idyll remains, the vision of shuttlecock.
The British military stationed in Poona may have developed this game based on a much earlier version, the battledore and shuttlecock, popular among the English and the French even way back in the 1500's.
This immediately became a favourite in the empire and nothing stopped those military men returning to the home country from introducing this game. Since then, it has taken on international popularity that it is now played at the Olympics.
What about the name Badminton?
Some believed that this game started in Badminton House, the Gloucester residence of Lord Beaufort when dinner guests having had too much fun started sticking goose quills on champagne corks and batted them over the table.
Where did Badminton start?
That badminton started in the Empire has of course long been contested as this game has already been popular not only in France and England as earlier mentioned but also in many countries in Asia.
But what has eventually evolved as badminton was first played in Poona and it was also there that the first rules of the game was developed. Regardless, the game is now enjoyed by many all over the world.
An Olympic Game Since 1992
Since its popularity in Poona, Badminton was brought back to various countries by military men and travelers as well that eventually many people played it that badminton clubs sprouted in many parts of the world.
The game continued to be played under the rules developed in Poona until the Bath Badminton Club standardized the rules and in 1893, the Badminton Association of England first published the rules.
In 1934, the first international federation was established with England, France, Denmark, Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland and Wales as its founding members. This became the foundation of what is now called the Badminton World Federation, the international governing body of the sport.
Today, badminton competitions are dominated mostly by Denmark and Asian countries such with China at the top. Badminton has become an international game having been included as an Olympic Sports since 1992.