A racquet sport played by hitting a shuttlecock across a net, either in a ‘singles’ match between two players, or as a ‘doubles’ match between two pairs. The game has become very popular in Asia and is often dominated by Chinese athletes.Continue reading
- The game follows the same basic format of many racquet sports, with competitors attempting to hit the shuttlecock (used in place of a ball) onto their opponent’s side of the court. If that opponent fails to make a legal return, the first player wins the point.
- The shuttlecock is a plastic projectile shaped like a small cone and is formed by having sixteen overlapping feathers (or a plastic skirt) around a cork base. Its unique shape makes it challenging for new players to hit, as it impacts both its flight and movement.
- Each point starts with the serving player striking the shuttlecock diagonally to their opponent’s serving area. The rally continues until a player misses the shuttlecock, hits it out of the playing area, or fails to return a shot onto their opponent’s side of the net.
- Badminton was developed in British India in the mid-19th century, although games involving shuttlecocks – such as Battledore – have been played for around 2,000 years.
- The sport made its Olympic debut in 1992 and is due to be inducted into the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020, together with taekwondo. China is by far the most successful nation with 41 medals. Denmark is the most successful European nation with eight.
- Team GB have won three Olympic medals in the sport, one silver and two bronze, the most recent of which came in Rio in 2016 when Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis finished third in the men’s doubles.
- Lin Dan – The two-time Olympic and five-time World Championship gold medallist is one of the most decorated badminton players of all time. The Chinese has won almost 50 international medals across an incredible career, including both singles and team medals. His last Olympic title came in London in 2012.
- Gail Emms – One of Great Britain’s greatest ever badminton players, Emms won silver in the mixed doubles event in Athens in 2004, alongside partner Nathan Robertson. They were beaten in three sets in the final by Chinese pair Zhang Jun and Gao Ling, fighting back bravely after losing the first set 15-1.
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