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Badminton history can be traced back more than 2,000 years ago, and had to go through several key transformations before it became what it is today. Interestingly enough, with the history of badminton spanning over twenty centuries, the official rules were created about 130 years back.

5th Century B.C

Let us go all the way back in time where it all started. The sport has origins in ancient civilisations in Europe and Asia more than 2000 years ago, although where it truly began is debatable.

The oldest evidence suggested that at around the 5th century B.C the first shuttlecock game is played. It involved players using their feet instead of rackets to hit the shuttlecock.

1st Century B.C


This is the time where people in Asia started playing battledore where the shuttle is hit back and forth without touching the floor as seen.

19th Century

During the 19th century, British military officers in the Indian town of Poona added a net to the ancient game of battledore (meaning ‘bat’) and shuttlecock, and named this new game after the Indian town.

In year 1867, the rules for Poona were written.

The sport of Poona was eventually brought back home by the officers, and was played at the Duke of Beaufort’s Gloucestershire residence in 1873. The residence was (and is still) called Badminton House, which is how this thrilling sport got the name used today.

And in year 1877 the Bath Badminton Club developed the first written rules for the sport. The following year the New York Badminton Club was founded, the world’s first badminton organization. The New York Badminton Club became society leaders weekend meeting place.

In year 1893 the Badminton Association was formed by 14 affiliated clubs and together they standardised of the measurements of the court, and a set of rules for the sport was agreed upon.

In year 1898, the first unofficial all-England badminton championships for men were held.

20th Century

In the 1930s the sport boomed as Hollywood personalities Bette Davis, Douglas Fairbanks and many more showed a keen interest in the sport. Also, during that time, many educational institutions, YMCAs and sports academies offered badminton in their curriculum, which fuelled the popularity of Badminton.

As Badminton grew rapidly on a global scale, the Badminton Association felt that a more ‘Internationally representative’ body was needed to govern the sport.

Eventually in the morning of 5 July 1934 at 10:30am, in Centre Block, Bush House, London, the IBF (International Badminton Federation) was created with 9 founding members (Canada, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales) and has since expanded to 173 members with its head office at Cheltenham, UK.

Following that, America’s various badminton group formed the American Badminton Association and standardised the rules and regulations and became a member of IBF in 1938.

Soon in year 1948, the first major IBF tournament, the Thomas Cup is held, leading to the first Uber Cup competition 8 years later.

In year 1966 Badminton was added into the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, and has been part of the games since then.

In year 1972, Badminton is played as a demonstration sport at the Olympics in Munich, Germany. Badminton then shortly became a full medal sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Spain and 4 years later in the Atlanta Olympics, the mixed doubles was added.

In the 1990’s, Para-badminton started to become competed internationally, with the first World Championships in Amersfoort, Netherlands in 1998.

21 Century

On October 1,2005, the IBF was relocated to Kuala Lumpur and on September 24, 2006, after the extraordinary general meeting in Madrid, IBF decided to change their name to Badminton World Federation (BWF). Their official site is http://www.bwfbadminton.org/

BWF then puts Para-badminton as a priority in the year 2008.

In the Year 2009, BWF Celebrated their 75th Anniversary with wrote a book titled “International Badminton – The First 75 years, written by many people including Eddy Chong, Noriko Takagi, Li Lingwei, Nora Perry, Lu Shengrong, Richard Eaton, Judy Hashman, Richard Purser and many more.

Here are the links to the soft copy on BWF website.

Part 1 (Pages 1 – 78) http://www.bwfbadminton.org/file.aspx?id=571914&dl=1

Part 2 (Page 79 – 161) http://www.bwfbadminton.org/file.aspx?id=571913&dl=1

BWF became recognised as an International Organization by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC).

In the year 2013, the regulations for Para-badminton have been agreed upon (did not state which parties but I’m assuming it’s BWF with the International Paralympics Committee, IPC).

7 October 2014, Para badminton has been selected for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sport for the first time.


Badminton has come a long way to become an all-inclusive and fun sport for everybody to enjoy and as we move towards the future, we will leave more awesome footprints of our Badminton History and dear old me (by then) would have to update this page again.

In the meantime do leave a comment if I have missed anything out and if you’ve any questions, and please do me a big favor by sharing this page if it was helpful! Smash On peeps!

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