Like many internationally popular sports, the modern form of the game came into existence in the United Kingdom. And like many sports, it has a more ancient history.
There is still a debate as to whether its true home is China, India or Ancient Greece. A form of the game was probably played in all three. The British also played a variation of badminton across their empire.
By the end of the 19th century, the sport had its name (after Badminton House in southwest England) and documented rules. In 1893, the Badminton Federation of England was set up and it held the first All England Championships six years later.
Badminton is an ancient sport, modified and codified by the British in the 19th century
The sport only entered the Olympics in 1992
It is one of the biggest sports in Asia in terms of participation
A select group of Asian countries dominate the sport
The International Badminton Federation was set up in 1934, but the sport had to wait until the 1992 Olympics to enter. As a demonstration event it was the first to sell out in Seoul four years earlier – a fact that demonstrated just how popular the game is.
Asian nations – China, Indonesia, Japan, India, Korea and Malaysia – have dominated the sport at the Olympics. In fact, of the 106 total medals to have been granted since 1992, all but 14 have gone home to Asia. Take a walk in the cities of Kuala Lumpur or Guangzhou and you are much more likely to see people playing badminton than football in the parks or by the rivers .
This is still the case in many countries, and while it is possible to see players in the United States and elsewhere, often it is seen as a bit of fun, but not really a serious sport.
Authorities are still trying to promote the game, but at the moment, it lags behind tennis in terms of profile, glamour and sponsorship.