The origins of the sport can be traced back thousands of years, although the exact origin is unknown. Games involving a racket and a shuttlecock were probably developed and played in Ancient Greece.
The inception of badminton in England stems from the popular pastime of ‘Battledore and Shuttlecock’. This involved using a paddle to keep a shuttlecock off the ground for as long as possible.
The modern day title of ‘badminton’ first came into use in 1873. The game of ‘Battledore and Shuttlecock’ was frequently played at Badminton House, the home of the Duke of Beaufort in Gloucestershire, England. A net was added to the classic game, and it was so popular here that it became known as “the Badminton game”. The game soon become well known as ‘badminton’.
The first guidelines for the game of badminton were laid out in 1887 by the Bath Badminton Club. In 1893 the Badminton Association of England (Badminton England) was established and published the first set of official rules and regulations. The first badminton competition was held in 1898 in Guildford. The following year saw the first ‘All England Championships’ – this is still run annually today.
Badminton worldwide is now governed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF (Formerly IBF)). The popularity of badminton has continued to grow and there are now more than 150 members of the BWF. Badminton was finally granted Olympic status in 1992. For more information about the BWF see our in depth page about badminton governing bodies.