59 Interesting Facts About Badminton

Last updated on June 27th, 2023

Badminton is a court game that is played with light weight rackets and a shuttlecock. It may also be played on a lawn. The game was officially played for the first time in the country estate of Badminton in Gloucestershire in England, the seat of the dukes of Beaufort.

Games similar to badminton were played across the world in countries such as India and China. In the 1860s the British army officers stationed in India began to play it with rackets. Recreationally, the game was played outdoors in the cooler hours of the summer season.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) was established in 1934, making it one of the oldest international sports federations. The BWF manages badminton competitions around the world.

The BWF World Championships have been held since 1977, and the tournament is held every year except in Olympic years. The Badminton World Federation has 198 members globally, making it one of the most widely participated sports.

Over the centuries it has risen in popularity and is now a competitive game. Here are 59 interesting facts about Badminton.

a white feather badminton shuttlecock. facts about badminton.
A white feather shuttlecock. Looks stunning. Image via shutterstock/DigitalStock

1. The Fastest Racket Sport in the World

Badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world, and shuttles can fly as fast as 320 kilometers per hour. Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark holds the record for the fastest badminton hit at a competition. His smash was recorded at a speed of 426 kilometers per hour at the 2017 Badminton Premier League match in Bangalore, India.

2. The Evolving Shuttlecock

Badminton was originally known as shuttlecock. It is played with rackets and a shuttlecock that is traditionally made with sixteen goose feathers.

3. What is in the Name

The shuttlecock used in badminton gets its name from the back and forth motion in the game. This motion is similar to the shuttle of a loom. Since the projectile, with its sixteen feathers resembles a chicken, hence the ‘cock’ in shuttlecock.

4. Lightweight

The shuttlecock used in a game of badminton weighs about five grams and is one of the lightest sports equipment.

Facts about badminton - a family sport
Photo © Piskunowiczp

5. Keep Your Eye on the Birdie

The shuttlecock is often referred to as the bird or birdie.

6. A Sport of Many Names

The sport has been referred to by many names including battledore and shuttlecock. It was frequently played by British officers stationed in the Indian garrison town of Poona. Here the sport was aptly called Poona.

7. Balls of Wool to Goose Feathers

Initially the game was played with balls of wool and called ball badminton. This made it possible for players to play even in windy and wet conditions. Eventually, rules of the game were set, as was the use of the shuttlecock.

8. The Scoring System

Badminton games are best-of-three games. The first side to get to 21 points, with a lead of two points, wins the game. The first team to win 2 of the 3 games wins the match.

Once a game reaches 29-all for each side, the game goes into a sudden-death round to determine the winner. The first team to miss a point loses.

The scoring system in badminton changed from 3 games of 15 points each to 2 games of 21 points each in 2006.

Badminton court. Interesting facts about Badminton.
Badminton court – top view. Image via shutterstock

9. Court Dimensions

The court in badminton measures 44 feet (13.4 meters) in length. The net height in badminton is 1.55 meters (5 feet 1 inch) at the edges and 1.524 meters (5 feet) at the center. The sidelines are 0.76 meters (2 feet 6 inches) wide.

In doubles badminton, the in-bounds area measures 20 feet (6.1 meters) in width. Singles badminton has an in-bounds width of 17 feet (5.18 meters).  

10. A Sport at Your Speed

Competitive badminton is fast and furious, and the spectators have to focus in order to follow the movements of the shuttlecock. In contrast, the game can also be played recreationally at an easy pace. ‘No Strings Badminton’ games allow the shuttlecock to naturally drift across the court.

11. The First Official Club

The first official Badminton club was established in Bath, United Kingdom, in 1877. It was called ‘The Bath Badminton Club’. It standardized the rules of the game and these were later recognized and published by the Badminton Association of England.

12. The First Official Game

Even though badminton was played informally for many years, it is believed that the first official game was organized and played at Badminton, in Gloucestershire, UK. It was at the estate of the Duke of Beaufort that the game was officially recognized.

13. Mixed Match

Unlike tennis in which a doubles game with male and female players is known as a mixed doubles, the badminton counterpart is called a mixed match.

Facts about badminton: badminton at the Olympics
Image via shutterstock/kovop58. Interesting facts about badminton.

14. Badminton at Olympics

Badminton was accepted as a full medal Olympic sport in 1992 for men’s and women’s singles as well as doubles matches. Before that it had been introduced as a demonstration sport in 1972 and an exhibition sport in 1988. In 1996, the mixed match was allowed.

The Olympic badminton tournament has five different categories. The categories are men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.

15. All Eyes on Badminton

The first Olympic badminton match broadcasted on television was watched by 1.1 billion viewers.

16. The Shortest Badminton Match

The shortest badminton match lasted only six minutes. It was played in 1996 at the Uber Cup in Hong Kong between South Korean Ra Kyung-min and British player Julia Mann.

17. The Badminton Guinness Record

Polish players, Bartlomiej Szczerba and Janusz Stachon-Gol, hold the Guinness Record for playing the longest marathon badminton single’s match for 26 hr 28 min 20 sec.

18. The World’s Longest International Badminton Match

The world’s longest international badminton match was played at the Badminton Asian Championships. The women’s doubles semi final was played for two hours and forty one minutes between Japan’s Kurumi Yanao and Naoko Fukuman and Indonesian players Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari.

19. A Rally to Beat All Rallies

The longest badminton rally lasted for 211 strokes. The game was played between Japan and Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur at the Malaysia Masters 2023 tournament. After 48 minutes of competitive play, Malaysia won the game.

20. Badminton with the Feet

It is believed that badminton is based on similar games played in India and China. The Chinese game Ti Zian Ji is badminton played with the feet instead of rackets.

The world's largest shuttlecock. Badminton fact file.
The world’s largest shuttlecock. Interesting facts about Badminton. Image credit – The Nelson-Atkins museum of arts.

21. The World’s Largest Shuttlecock

An eighteen foot high aluminum and fiberglass shuttlecock is installed and displayed on the lawn of the art museum in Kansas City. It weighs close to three tons and was made by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen.

22. Second Most Popular Game

Badminton is second only to soccer in its popularity. It is estimated that across the world over 220 million people play the sport.

23. In Asia since 1962

The Badminton Asia Championships is an annual tournament held since 1962 and features top players from Asia. The championship is organized by Badminton Asia under the BWF.

24. Badminton in Commonwealth

In 1966, Badminton was included in the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica for the first time. Only 11 countries entered to play badminton, and each country was limited to 4 men and 4 women.

25. The longest single’s match

The longest single’s badminton match was between Peter Rasmussen (Denmark) and Sun Jun (China) during the 1997 World Championships in Glasgow. The match lasted for 124 minutes.

26. Most counter hits in a minute

In August 2020, Jenny Moore and Greg Mairs, both from the UK, recorded the most badminton counter hits in one minute. They recorded a total of 161 hits.

Facts about badminton - German mix doubles
Photo © Lukas Blazek

27. Half a million in prize money

The BWF Super Series is a premier badminton tournament that offers a total prize purse of $500,000 per event.

28. First time in the Americas

In 1977, the first match of the regional tournament for countries in the Americas was played in a league called the Badminton Pan Am Championships.

29. Most consecutive weeks as World number 1

Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei holds the record for the most consecutive weeks as the world number one in men’s singles, with a total of 199 weeks.

30. BWF Under 19 

The BWF World Junior Championships, which began in 1992, is an annual tournament showcasing young badminton talents aged under 19.

31. The Best Feathers for a Shuttlecock

It is maintained that the best feathers for a shuttlecock are sourced from the left wing of a goose. Aerodynamic experts say that a shuttle cock made with 16 feathers from the left wing spins clockwise when it is smashed.

32. The Right Wing is Wrong

Shuttlecocks made with the feathers from the right wing of a goose spins in a counter clock wise direction when it is smashed. This throws the players’ game off and the shuttlecock is likely to be thrown away. A mix of feathers from the right and left wings make the shuttlecocks movements unpredictable.

Facts about Badminton - stringing a badminton racket
Stringing a badminton racket with a machine. Image via shutterstock/aSuruwataRi

33. The Gutting String

The standard length of the string used to gut a badminton racket is ten meters long.

34. Badminton Rackets

Modern badminton rackets are made of steel, aluminum, graphite and boron. They cannot be longer than 68 centimeters and wider than 23 centimeters. The racket should weigh about 85-90 grams, and never more than 100 grams.

35. U and G in Badminton

When you are shopping for a badminton racket you will notice that they are marked with the alphabets U and G. While U refers the racket weight, G describes its length.

36. The Lines of the Badminton Court

The width of the lines of the badminton court is 40 mm. They are painted white or yellow so that players can identify them easily.

37. The Fastest Recorded Object in Sports

The shuttlecock may be small and light, but it can move very fast. In 2013, a racket technology test recorded the movement of a shuttlecock at a speed of 493 kilometers per hour. The record was set by the Malaysian player Tan Boon Heong.

38. The World’s Oldest Badminton Tournament

The All England Open Badminton Championship is the world’s oldest badminton tournament, and was first organized in 1898. It is popularly referred to as the All England.

badminton, a boy and girl playing in a park.
Illustrative image of a girl and boy playing badminton with shuttle on court in summer park. Image via shutterstock/Iconic Bestiary

39. A National Game

Badminton is the national game of Indonesia.

40. The Climatic Conditions Matter

Conventionally, badminton competitions are conducted on indoor courts. The movement of the shuttlecock is affected by weather, temperature and altitude. When it is cold, the shuttle moves slowly, and when it is hot, it flies faster. In an air conditioned setting the shuttle is slower, and in high altitude it becomes faster.

41. Tipping the Feathers

To change the speed of a shuttle players tip the feathers. When the feathers are tipped inward the shuttle speeds up. In contrast, to slow the shuttle the feathers should be tipped outward.

42. A Journey of Miles

In an average international badminton match the shuttle is hit more than 400 times. Often as many as ten shuttlecocks are used. If one were to follow the length they travel during a single match, it would amount to several miles.

43. Badminton in America

Even though the sport was introduced in USA in the 1890s, it took almost six decades for badminton to gain popularity.

44. The Thomas Cup

The Thomas Cup, also known as the World Men’s Team Championships, was first held in 1948, and thereafter every three years until 1982. The schedule was changed so that it would be conducted every two years. Only 6 countries have won the prestigious Thomas Cup since the event was established in 1848: China, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, Denmark, and India.

45. The Uber Cup

The Uber Cup, established in 1956, is the equivalent premier international team event for women’s badminton. The cup itself was donated by the 1956 women’s champion badminton player, Mrs. H.S. Uber, which is where the tournament got its name.

The Uber Cup or the World Team Championships for Women was held for the first time in 1956, and thereafter with a three year interval. In 1984, the schedule was changed to match that of the Thomas Cup. The two competitions are now held jointly.

China has been the most successful country in the Uber Cup, winning the tournament 15 times as of 2021. Their 15th victory came when they beat Japan 3-1.

Facts about Badminton - badminton net and a shuttlecock
A shuttlecock held in badminton net. Looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Image via shutterstock/Sirirojo

46. The Net

The net that divides the badminton court cannot be touched by the players and their rackets must not touch it either. The net is attached to two poles and the height must be five feet.

47. The Winning Point

The scoring system in a badminton game is simple and clear. If the shuttle touches the opponent’s section of the court, a point is awarded. 21 points is the winning point. If the game is tied at 20-20, then the winning point is 22. The winner must have a 2 point advantage over the other player. The first player to score 30 points wins. A match includes three games.

48. Service Underarm

It is only permissible for players to serve from below the waist level. One cannot serve over arm.

49. The Giants of Badminton

Indonesia and China have won 70% of all Badminton Federation events. The International Badminton Federation has more than 150 members.

50. Tales of Badminton Guts

Contemporary badminton players mostly use synthetic strings but centuries ago the guts were made from the dried stomach lining from animals such as cats and cows. Some players still prefer to use traditional gutting.

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