Encyclopedia of World Sport

Encyclopedia of World Sport

Encyclopedia of World Sport

Encyclopedia of World Sport


Spanning the wide world of sports, this volume is packed with everything you could possibly want to know about hundreds of sports. Along with detailed information on how sports are played around the world, the Encyclopedia of World Sport explores emotions and issues surrounding the sporting life and looks at sport as an essential part of the human experience. Readers will find fascinating entries on baseball and badminton, tennis and takraw, as well as on an incredible range of activities played around the globe from ancient times up to the present. Lucid and authoritative, this work--called "the newest sporting bible" by The Times of London--covers every Olympic sport, obscure activities such as buzkashi and jousting, and indigenous games in dozens of nations. In addition to its coverage of individual sports, the Encyclopedia examines the history and evolution of sport as a societal institution as well as the events and influences shaping the contemporary sporting world. Entries provide unique coverage of aggression, ethics, sports psychology, media, law and medicine, the development of women's sports, and the business and politics of modern sport. The Encyclopedia of World Sport is the definitive reference on the history, practice, and culture of sports throughout the world.


Badminton, called the world’s fastest racket sport, is played with rackets and shuttlecocks on a court divided by a net. Initially a form of recreation, it is now an Olympic sport with a professional tour. It is a major sport in most countries of northern Europe and southeast Asia, and virtually the national sport in Indonesia and several other countries. Denmark, Sweden, England, Holland, and Germany lead the European nations in their interest. The International Badminton Federation lists approximately 1.4 million as registered with national badminton associations around the world, although the actual number of people who play badminton is estimated at 10 times that figure.


Evidence of games similar to badminton appears as early as the 1st century B.C.E. in China, where Ti Jian Zi, or shuttlecock kicking, became popular. The game of Ti Jian Zi involved hitting a shuttlecock with one’s feet or hands, or occasionally with a bat. The game also was popular in Japan, India, and Siam, and spread to Sumeria and Greece.

In 14th-century England, the game of battledore shuttlecock, involving a racket or paddle and a shuttlecock, was widely played. Using no nets or boundaries, this was primarily a means of testing players’ skill in keeping the shuttlecock in play as long as possible. By the late 16th century it had become a popular children’s game, the object still being to hit the shuttlecock to each other, or to oneself, as long as possible.

During the 17th century, the game’s social status rose as it became a pastime for British royalty and the leisured classes. Early English settlers in America also enjoyed the game at this time. In the 1800s, the seventh Duke of Beaufort and his family were avid players at his Gloucester estate, called Badminton House. At this estate, a “new game” of badminton battledore, involving a net and boundaries, evolved; thus, the name “badminton.” By 1867, a formal game of badminton was being played in India by English officers and their families, who developed the first rules. During the following three decades, badminton evolved into a competitive indoor sport, and clubs were formed throughout the British Isles. Beginning in the 1920s,badminton spread to northern Europe and North America and from India throughout the rest of Asia.

By 1979 the game had become truly professional; in 1985 it became an Olympic sport (with a 1992 debut in Barcelona), and was included in the Pan American Games in 1995. The International Badminton Federation, formed in 1934, governs all international badminton competition and has more than 125 member nations. A year-round international grand prix circuit worth $2 million a year in prize money currently attracts the top players to touring careers.

Rules and Play

Badminton differs from other racket sports in its use of a shuttlecock that must not touch the ground. These factors make badminton a fast game requiring quick reflexes and strong conditioning; top athletes have recorded smashes of over 320 kilometers (200 miles) per hour.

All officially sanctioned competition around the world is played indoors (recreational badminton is played outside as well). The badminton court measures . . .

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