Badminton is a racquet sport often played as a casual outdoor activity in a yard or on a beach. Formal games are played on a rectangular indoor court. The modern game of badminton developed in the mid-19th century among the expatriate officers of British India as a variant of the earlier game of battledore and shuttlecock. (& Battledore & was an older term for & racquet &) Its exact origin remains obscure. The name derives from the Duke of Beaufort & Badminton House in Gloucestershire, but why or when remains unclear.
Early on, the game was also known as Poona or Poonah after the garrison town of Poona, where it was particularly popular and where the first rules for the game were drawn up in 1873. Initially, the sport was played with sides ranging from 1 to 4 players, but it was quickly established that games between two or four competitors worked the best. The shuttlecocks were coated with India rubber and, in outdoor play, sometimes weighted with lead.
The sport was played under the Pune rules until 1887, when J. H. E. Hart of the Bath Badminton Club drew up revised regulations. In 1890, Hart and Bagnel Wild again revised the rules. The Badminton Association of England (BAE) published these rules in 1893 and officially launched the sport at a house called & Dunbar& in Portsmouth on 13 September. The BAE started the first badminton competition, the All England Open Badminton Championships for gentlemen & doubles, ladies & doubles, and mixed doubles, in 1899. Singles competitions were added in 1900 and an England–Ireland championship match appeared in 1904.
England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand were the founding members of the International Badminton Federation in 1934, now known as the Badminton World Federation. India joined as an affiliate in 1936. The BWF now governs international badminton. Although initiated in England, competitive men’s badminton has traditionally been dominated in Europe by Denmark. Worldwide, Asian nations have become dominant in international competition. China, Denmark, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Taiwan (playing as ‘Chinese Taipei’) and Japan are the nations which have consistently produced world-class players in the past few decades, with China being the greatest force in men and women competition recently.
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