History Of Badminton Essay, Research Paper
Many Americans play baseball, basketball, soccer, or tennis. Many of them watch these sports on TV, and many buy tickets to their games and matches. But the average American has never even heard of competitive badminton, let alone gone to see a match. As a player myself, I can assure you that the common misconception that badminton is merely a backyard sport couldn’t be farther from the truth. Badminton began as a leisurely backyard sport and evolved to competitive sport ranging to Olympic levels.
Badminton originated thousands of years ago in India, before many of the other sports were commercialized. It is believed to have evolved from a children’s game known as battledore and shuttlecock, the battledore being a paddle and the shuttlecock a small-feathered cork, now called a “bird” or “birdie.” The objective was simply to keep the bird in the air for as long as possible. Eventually a net was added and the game became a competitive sport called “poona.” In the 1860’s it was adopted by British army officers stationed in India and was brought back to England during the early 1870’s. Played at a lawn party given by the Duke of Beaufort at his famous estate “Badminton,” it was enjoyed immensely. When explaining the game to their
friends, the guests referred to it as “the Badminton game” for the name of his estate and the name stuck.
An important part of competitive badminton is the training ground, called a “club.” The first badminton club, the Bath Badminton Club was established in 1877 and developed the first written rules of the game, which have essentially remained unchanged since. In 1893 the Badminton Association of England was founded as the first national governing body and the first All-England championship was held in 1899.The first Badminton Club in America was The Badminton Club of New York, BCNY, was formed in 1878, but it was primarily a social club. The Badminton Health Club of Boston was founded in 1908 to devote more time to the sport, which grew to more than 300 members by 1925. Despite the efforts, badminton did not become popular until the 1930’s. In 1935 the American Badminton Association, ABA, was founded and conducted the first ever national championship tournament on April 1, 1937.
Badminton was on its way, it had become a full out competitive sport requiring speed, stamina, strength, and agility. The International Badminton Federation, founded in 1934, planned to hold the first world
championship in 1939, but due to World War II it was delayed until 1949. Badminton was staged as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Olympics, and premiered as a full medal Olympic sport in 1992 at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain and has continued to be such ever since.
The ABA was renamed the U.S. Badminton Association, USBA, in 1978 and in 1989 it became a full-fledged member of the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 1999 the USBA became USA Badminton and now contains about 2,700 members, myself included.
The competitive nature of badminton is demonstrated by the determination of the player to do such feats as hitting birdies clocked up to 200 miles an hour at the most advanced levels. Not something you would see in just any backyard. Badminton requires intensive training and conditioning, and in the most competitive countries children are often started as early as 4-5 years old. In America, the game is not regarded as a respected sport, but despite this fact, children with the desire and ability to play can begin at any age. As a coach as well as a player I can attest to the challenge the sport yields.
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