The name Badminton comes from Badminton House – home of the Duke of Beaufort in the English county of Gloucestershire. The ancestral estate is now better known for hunting and horse trials, it is credited as the formal birthplace of the racquet sport. But badminton’s roots date back 1000’s of years.

Sports played with racquets and a shuttlecock most likely developed in ancient Greece around two thousand years ago but are also mentioned in China and India. In England a children’s game known as “battledore and shuttlecock” in which players used a paddle – a battledore – to keep a small feathered cork – a shuttlecock – in the air as long as possible – was popular from medieval times.

In the seventeenth century, Battledore or Jeu de Volant was an upper class sport in many European countries. Versions of the game had been played for centuries by children in the Far East, and were adapted by British Army officers stationed in Pune (or Poona), India in the 1860s.

They added a net and the game became a competitive sport called “poona”, with formal rules in 1867. In 1873 the game made its way back to England and gained its current title after guests at a Badminton House lawn party held by the Duke of Beaufort introduced it to their friends as “the Badminton game”.

It was credit to its popularity that in 1877 the first set of written rules were formalized by the Bath Badminton Club. A national organizing body was formed sixteen years later with the setting up of the Badminton Federation of England, which in 1899 held the first All England Championships.

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