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Badminton is a racket sport whose exact origins are still a tantalising mystery. It evolved from the older game of Battledor and Shuttlecock, which was a popular pastime in Europe, particularly among the affluent classes. However, it is not known exactly when Battledore and Shuttlecock transformed into the competitive sport of badminton. One plausible theory is that badminton was first played at the stately home of the Duke of Beaufort in Gloucestershire sometime in the early 1860s and thus was named after his estate, which was called Badminton House. The game travelled to India where it became a popular sport in the military cantonments. Gradually it spread in the British colonies and then to Europe and East Asia. Badminton today is a global sport with widespread appeal for people of all ages and abilities.

Brief overview of the rules

Badminton is a racket sport that is played indoors by either two opposing players (singles) or two pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a court that is divided by a net. The players use a shuttlecock – a projectile with a crown of feathers in a conical shape – and try to land the shuttlecock on the surface of the opposing court or cause their opponents to make an error. A point is won/lost every serve in the game. Players must win two games of 21 points to win the match (best of three).

Olympic history

Badminton made its debut as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. In 1988 it was an exhibition sport in Seoul. It was not until the 1992 Games in Barcelona that it was officially included on the Olympic programme with four medal categories : men’s and women’s singles, and men’s and women’s doubles. Mixed doubles was added in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic Games. Asian nations have dominated the list of medal winners, with athletes from the continent accounting for 106 of the 121 badminton medals in Olympic history.

In Paris 2024, 172 players will be competing. The five events of men’s and womens’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles will be contested across the 10 days of competition with five gold, silver and bronze medals awarded.

Events in 2024

In 2024, the badminton events will take place between the 27th of July and the 5th of August.

  • Singles (women’s / men’s)
  • Doubles (women’s / men’s / mixed)

Venue in 2024

International organisation

Badminton World Federation

© Chris McGrath/Getty Images

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