Thursday, July 19, 2012

India: Origin of Badminton

Badminton is a very popular sport in many parts of the world especially, Asia and Europe. India is also an upcoming nation in the arena and credited to provide champion players like Prakash Padukone, P.Gopichand and currently Saina Nehwal. Did you know that the history of the modern version of badminton has its roots in India?

The origin of this game is credited to medieval Britain. There was a popular kid’s game known as shuttlecocks or battledores and badminton is considered as a descendant of that sport. India also had a major role to play in development of current day badminton. As the story goes, British army officers in Pune, Maharashtra, forever changed the way badminton is played by adding a net in 19th century. They also started to play it competitively. Interestingly, this game was initially known as Poona because of obvious reasons. Later on some of those officers returned back to England and introduced the same format there. Since then, the game has never looked back. The organized stricture of this game in India took place in 1920s.

The game of badminton can be well described to be a descendent of battledore and shuttlecock, which were played in ancient Greece over 2000 years ago. One of the most popular games since the medieval era, the modern version of badminton has its roots well laid in India. British Army officers posted in Pune, India, gave badminton its present form in the 19th century and played it competitively. As the city of Pune was formerly known as Poona, the game was also became known as Poona at that time. Poona was developed from the children's game, battledore and shuttlecock.

The main aim of the game was to keep the cork stuffed with feathers - shuttlecock, in the air for as long as possible, using a paddle, called a battledore. The group, who managed to keep the shuttle in the air for a long time was declared the winner. Though this cooperative, non-competitive game was similar to its predecessor, the only difference was the addition of a net. The shuttlecock is often cited as a bird, because it is usually made out feathers. Shuttlecocks consisting of 16 real feathers are only used for competition purpose. It is said the best shuttles are those that are made from feathers taken from the left wing of a goose. However, in the present times, there are plastic ones also available

Once the British mastered the game in India, they took the equipments with them back to England during the 1870s. Three years later, in 1873, the Duke of Beaufort hosted a lawn party in his country place called Badminton. The game of Poona was played on that day and became a popular and entertaining pastime among the British elites. It was thence that the game received its present name, Badminton and came to be known as party sport or more popularly, "the Badminton game". In 1877, the first club dedicated to the sport called the Bath Badminton Club was formed. The club is credited for developing the first official set of rules for playing Badminton.

The International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now known as Badminton World Federation) was established in 1934 with Canada, Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales as its founding members. India joined as an affiliate in 1936. The BWF now governs international badminton and develops the sport globally.

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