A lightweight racket and a shuttlecock with cork nose and feathered tail (AP)

A lightweight racket and a shuttlecock with cork nose and feathered tail (AP)

Battledore and shuttlecock portrayed in an illustration from 1854

Battledore and shuttlecock portrayed in an illustration from 1854

Children play in a badminton tournament in Madrid, Spain. (AP)

Children play in a badminton tournament in Madrid, Spain. (AP)

A badminton court looks like a cross between a tennis court and a volleyball court. (AP)

A badminton court looks like a cross between a tennis court and a volleyball court. (AP)

Badminton Begins

Posted: May 2, 2016

“Badminton” is a very British-sounding word. Can’t you imagine a British butler handing you a tray of tea and biscuits and reminding you of your badminton lesson at noon? There’s a reason for that. Badminton is a British word. But it is not a British game, exactly. It came—at least partly—from Saina’s country, India.

More than 2,000 years ago, ancient civilizations in Europe and Asia played a game similar to badminton. It was called battledore and shuttlecock. At first, no one played with a net. Battledore and shuttlecock wasn’t a competition. Players on each side just volleyed the shuttle (or “bird”) for as long as they could. In ancient China, the game was called ti jian zi. People played it with their feet. They kicked the shuttles into the air. In Europe in the 1600s, people were using rackets instead.

Something more like modern-day badminton comes from a game called Poona. Poona was played in India in the 1800s. Like in today’s badminton, players hit the bird across the net. During that time, British army officers were stationed in India. They took the game back to England.

Badminton got its current name at a party thrown by the Duke of Beaufort. He lived in an estate called Badminton. After that, people started calling the sport “the Badminton game.”

Today, badminton is played with a net, rackets, and birds. Sometimes the birds are made of plastic, but some say the best come from feathers from the left wing of a goose!