Badminton has its origins in ancient civilisations in Europe and Asia. The ancient game known as battledore (bat or paddle) and shuttlecock probably originated more than 2000 years ago.
In the 1600s battledore and shuttlecock was an upper class pastime in England and many European countries. Battledore and shuttlecock was simply two people hitting a shuttlecock backwards and forwards with a simple bat as many times as they could without allowing it to hit the ground.
Modern badminton can be traced to mid-19th century British India. It was created by British military officers stationed there. A net was added to the traditional English game of battledore and shuttlecock. As it was popular in the British garrison town of Poona, the game came to be known as "Poona" or "Poonai" Initially, woollen balls were preferred by the upper classes in windy or wet conditions, but ultimately shuttlecocks took over the role of a "ball." This game was taken by retired officers who got back to England. It was introduced as a game for the guests of the Duke of Beaufort at his stately home 'Badminton' in Gloucestershire, England where it became popular. Hence, the origin of the name "Badminton."
In March 1898, the first Open Tournament was held at Guildford and the first 'All England' Championships were held the following year.
The International Badminton Federation was formed in 1934 with nine founder members, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Canada, New Zealand and France. India joined as an affiliate in 1936.
The first major IBF tournament was the Thomas Cup (world men's team championships) in 1948. Since then, the number of world events has increased with the addition of the Uber Cup (women's team), World Championships (individual events), Sudirman Cup (mixed team), World Junior Championships and the World Grand Prix Finals.
Badminton is a relatively new Olympic sport. It was a demonstration sport at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Badminton eventually became an Olympic sport in Barcelona in 1992. Only the singles and doubles were introduced for the first time in the Olympic Games. Mixed doubles was included in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and badminton is the only sport that has mixed doubles event in the Olympics.
Only five countries have won gold medals at the Olympics since badminton was introduced in 1992 - China, Indonesia and Korea, England and Denmark.
Susi Susanti from Indonesia won the women's singles in Barcelona, becoming Indonesia's first medallist after forty years participating in the Olympics. Ironically, Susi's future husband, Alan Budi Kusama won Indonesia's second gold medal in the men's singles.