Badminton is officially the world’s fastest racqet sport, which requires quick reflexes and superb conditioning. The shuttle when smashed around the court travels at speed in excess of 300 km/hour. Here are 8 facts about badminton that will absolutely blow your mind!
1. Badminton is a LOT more intense than tennis
At the 1985 All England (Tennis) Championships, Boris Becker defeated Kevin Curren 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
At the 1985 World Badminton Championships in Calgary, Canada, Han Jian of China defeated Morten Frost of Denmark, 14-18, 15-10, 15-8. The following is a statistical comparison of those matches.
Time: Tennis - 3 hours and 18 minutes; Badminton - 1 hour and 16 minutes
Ball/shuttle in play: Tennis - 18 minutes; Badminton - 37 minutes
Match Intensity*: Tennis - 9 percent; Badminton - 48 percent
Rallies: Tennis - 299; Badminton - 146
Shots: Tennis - 1,004; Badminton - 1,972
Shots Per Rally: Tennis - 3.4; Badminton - 13.5
Distance Covered: Tennis - 2 miles; Badminton - 4 miles
Note that the badminton players competed for half the time, yet ran twice as far and hit nearly twice as many shots!
*The actual time the ball/shuttle was in flight, divided by the length of the match.
2. The Asian domination of the sport
Since its inclusion in the Olympics in 1992, Asian players have won a staggering 93 out of the 103 Olympic medals.
The most successful badminton countries in the world are China and Indonesia, who have won 70% of all BWF events between them.
The Thomas Cup, the men's world team championships, has been won by only three countries since it began in 1948 - Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
The only time the Uber Cup, the women's world team championships, was won outside Asia was by the USA in 1957, 1960 and 1963; the other holders are China, Indonesia, Japan and more recently South Korea.
3. Badminton is the 2nd most popular sport in the world
It has been claimed that badminton is the second most-popular participation sport in the world, only behind football.
When badminton was first included in the Olympics in 1992, 1.1 billion people watched the badminton competition on television.
4. A badminton match once lasted just 6 minutes
The shortest badminton match ever recorded was at the 1996 Uber Cup in Hong Kong, which lasted all of six minutes! Ra Kyung-min (South Korea) crushed Julia Mann (England) 11-2, 11-1 in that match.
The longest match on the other hand lasted 124 minutes, and was contested between Peter Rasmussen (Denmark) and Sun Jun (China). Rasmussen won that encounter 16-17, 18-13, 15-10.
5. A shuttle is made from the left wing of a goose
The average shuttlecock weighs between 4.74 to 5.5 grams, the best of which are made from the feathers of the left wing of a goose.
16 feathers are used in the manufacture of a shuttle. During a top-level match 10 shuttles are used, with each being hit roughly 400 times
6. The strings of badminton racquets are made from the stomach linings of cats
While over the years, most of the players have started using synthetic strings, some players still use guts made from the dried stomach lining of animals like cats or cows.
7. Badminton was initially played with the players' feet
A game called Ti Zian Ji was played by the Chinese originally, which is the forerunner of badminton. In this sport, the players used their feet instead of racquets to hit the shuttlecock! The game is still played in China!
8. India played its part in the discovery of the game
In India, the game existed before 1500 B.C. and was called “Poona”. It was named “Poona” because of its region of origin, which was city “Pune”. It is said that “Poona” means “the game of the city Pune”.
Initially the game was played with the hand, using the palm as a racquet. Later on, the hands were replaced with the legs, something that made this game popular among Indian men but extremely difficult for the Indian women. Thus, it was separated into a men’s and a women’s game.
In 1870, British officers that served in India brought with them back to the country the game Poona. The Duke of Beaufort, the Father of Badminton, was a great supporter of the game, which he played very often. However, this game was quite primitive for the elite of the English society. Thus, he preferred to play the woman’s version of the game of Poona with his friends and his daughters in his villa at the village Badminton of Glouschester.
One day, as he was playing in the garden of his villa, it began to rain. Without hesitation, he emptied his dining room so as to continue the game there. This was also the beginning of the sport known as Badminton.