London 2012 Guide to…Badminton

  • Badminton is one of the three racket sports on offer at the Olympic Games.

It’s all thanks to the Duke of Beaufort that badminton is played in the UK. The Duke was a military officer, and brought back a version of the game from India in 1873. After introducing the game to acquaintances, the game proved to be extremely popular. Furthermore, since the Duke’s residence was called Badminton House, the name badminton was given to this new sport.

Although the origins of badminton lie in the UK, it is actually Asian players who have tended to dominate the sport in recent history having won an astonishing 69 out of the 76 medals available in the sport’s Olympic history.

  • Badminton began in Barca

The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona was when badminton was first included on the Olympic schedule. There were four main events – the men’s and women’s singles and doubles competitions. The mixed doubles was introduced at the Games four years later in Atlanta – and it is these five which continue to this day.

  • What’s it all about?

It’s about hitting a shuttlecock around and trying to hit it inside the court, preventing the opponent from hitting an effective return. Badminton is played on a rectangular court which is split by a net, much like tennis except the net is raised in the air.

A game is best of three sets – and a set is won once the player or team reach 21 points. If the score is level at 21-21, then play continues until one side has a two-point advantage. So in theory this could continue endlessly, but in fact if the set still goes on, once it is 29-29, then the side to win the next point wins the set.

  • Wembley

Wembley Arena will be hosting the badminton tournaments at the Games. The tournament takes the normal format of group stages, followed by the knock out stages. 172 athletes will be taking part in the five events.

  • Ones to watch

‘Super Dan’ may sound like an actor, but Lin Dan is in fact a formidable badminton player. He is the current Olympic champion and considered by many to be the best player ever. The current number one, Malaysian Lee Chong Wei who won silver in Beijing in 2008 will no doubt pose a threat once again.

  • Local hopefuls

Nathan Robertson may well be a familiar name; the experienced Brit won a silver medal at the Athens games in 2004. He will be competing in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles. British number one Rajiv Ouseph is another one to keep an eye on in the men’s singles competition.

And Finally…

Look out for: the shuttlecock – it can travel over 250mph during a rally!

Not to be confused with: tennis, or any other racket sport for that matter.

Useless but informative fact: the feathers in a goose’s left wing are the best source for making a shuttlecock.

Badminton in two words: lightening reactions.

Badminton at the Wembley Arena will be on show between 28 July and 5August.