Written by Amir Bashir | 29 April 2022
In this article, you will discover fascinating badminton facts, ranging from the weird to the interesting and everything in between.
13 Fascinating Facts About Badminton:
1. Badminton players suffer more eye injuries than all major sports players put together
2. The shuttlecock is the fastest moving object in all sport
3. The shortest badminton match lasted only six minutes
4. The longest badminton match lasted just under three hours
5. Badminton got its name from badminton
6. Feather shuttlecocks are made from the left-wing of a goose
7. Your fellow doubles player is more likely to injure you than the opponent
8. The longest badminton rally lasted 256 shots
9. Badminton was initially played with balls of wool
10. Badminton is more tiring than tennis
11. The ‘bath badminton club’
12. A tournament watched by 1.1 billion people
13. Longest win streak is fourteen years
A five-year survey of ocular injuries in sport found that badminton players suffer almost double the number of eye injuries (63) than all the other major sports players combined (33).
The worrying thing about these eye injuries is that they aren’t innocuous.
The same study went on to find that badminton is the primary cause of traumatic hyphema (a common cause of blunt eye injury that can lead to permanent vision loss), with the sport alone accounting for 53% of all TH cases.
Now you know where all those eye injuries are coming from.
According to Guinness World Records, the fastest moving shuttlecock traveled at a speed of 417 km/hr.
The record-making shot was hit by Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei during the final of the Japan Open in September 2017.
Still have your doubts about the speed of a shuttlecock? Then this video is for you:
This match took place in the 1996 Uber Cup held in Hong Kong.
South Korea’s Ra Kyung-min thrashed England’s Julia Man 11-2, 11-1 in less time than it takes me to leave my bed in the morning.
Being a person who is always late to sports events, I feel for spectators who would have entered the arena 10 minutes late, only to find that the match they purchased tickets for had already been decided.
Poor chaps! Must have been a long walk back home for them.
The epic match was played at the 2016 Badminton Asian Championship’s women’s doubles semi-finals.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Japan’s Kurumi Yonao and Naoko Fukuman refused to call it quits for an eye-watering 161 minutes.
The match started without giving any indication of its longevity, with the first game finishing 21-13 in favor of the Indonesian side.
The Japanese duo, however, were in no mood to finish the game early. They forced the Indonesians into long exhausting rallies, before coming out on top 21-19 in the second game.
Everyone watching the match was hoping for an epic finale and they weren’t disappointed.
The hotly-contested final game lasted for over an hour— longer than your average badminton match. After a game of attrition, the Japanese tag team completed their comeback with a resounding 24-22 victory.
Badminton, as we know it today, grew popular at the duke of Beaufort’s country estate, Badminton, where the game’s first-ever official match was played.
However, like most things in London’s British Museum, the game originated somewhere else before the English claimed it as their own.
British soldiers learned the sport in Poona (India) in the 1870s, where they were stationed to defend the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Her Majesty’s empire.
In fact, the original name of Badminton was ‘Poona’. And it remained so until it got its current name after arriving at the duke of Beaufort’s country estate.
Shuttlecocks are made of one of two materials: Plastic and Feathers.
Feather shuttlecocks are considered premium because they have a more predictable trajectory and offer a higher aerodynamic lift.
However, not everything about them is so great.
Most feather shuttlecocks are made from plucked feathers of goose, while others are built with duck feathers.
Want to hear something even more disturbing?
The feathers are plucked from live geese — far more than will actually be used. The handler catches the bird and pins it down, before pulling open its wings and yanking them out, causing horrible bleeding.
Fortunately, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) approved the use of synthetic feather shuttlecocks at all international tournaments from 2021 onwards.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, 73 doubles players suffered injuries on the court during the five-year period under investigation.
Curiously, of the 72 injuries, 52 were caused by one doubles teammate to the other.
Put simply, you’ll stand a better chance of avoiding injury on the court by staying clear of your own teammate than from a disgruntled opponent.
The rally went on for over four minutes, which means that if it had gone on for two minutes more, it would have lasted longer than the shortest badminton match.
There’s another thing about the duration of the rally that surprises me.
The ruggedness of the shuttlecock. That is because the shuttlecock I use (the cheap, plastic one), would have disintegrated into pieces much earlier, allowing both the players to take a much-needed breather.
Check out this video if you cannot believe what you have just read:
This was apparently done to help players play in wet and windy conditions, a hindrance modern badminton is yet to overcome.
Ball badminton, as the sport was called back then, is still played in parts of India, especially in Tanjore, a city in Tamil Nadu whose royal family popularized the game in the 1850s.
The game’s court is twice as big (12 by 24m ) as that of badminton’s (6.1 by 13.4m) and its rules are also different.
For instance, while in badminton the same set of players start and finish the game, up to three substitutions are allowed in specific ball badminton matches.
Here is what the statistics tell us.
An average badminton player covers around 6.4km per match, with an average match lasting about 40-50 minutes.
An average tennis player runs approximately 3.4km during a three-set match, which usually lasts about 90 minutes.
So not only do badminton players cover twice as much distance as their tennis counterparts. They do the same in half as much time too. Talk about finding yourself in a double whammy.
Small wonder, then, that most badminton players retire at around 30 years old.
Don’t get any funny ideas about where the name comes from.
The Bath Badminton Club was the first-ever official Badminton club.
It was set up in Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom in the year 1877. The club developed the first written rules for the game, most of which are in use even today.
Want to hear something even more surprising?
The club exists as you read this. The University of Bath proudly claims that it is the ‘second most successful’ university badminton club in the country.
The sport of badminton proved its appeal among the masses when, at the 1992 Olympic Games, an estimated 1.1 billion people watched the eight-day competition.
This was the first time badminton was recognized as a full-medal sport in the competition, having been part of the games since 1972.
For the first two decades of being part of the Olympics, Badminton held the title of demonstration sport (1972 – 1988) or an exhibition sport (Seoul, 1998).
The 1992 games held in Barcelona was the first time badminton players were allowed to compete for a medal at the Olympics.
However, all that wait was worth it when one-fifth of humanity — the world population was 5.28 billion in 1990 — tuned in to watch the game on their television sets.
Dave Freeman is America’s greatest badminton player.
Apart from winning multiple US Championships, an All-England Championship (the unofficial predecessor of the World Championships), and various other titles, Freeman once went 14 years without a defeat in singles matches.
However, it wasn’t only badminton that Mr. Freeman was good at.
The California-born superstar also won the US Junior Tennis Championship in 1938. A few years later, he claimed the New England Squash Title, all the while he was busy clinching a variety of table tennis tournaments.
Fast forward a few years, and Mr. Freeman became Dr. Freeman after earning a medical degree from the prestigious Harvard Medical School. Talk about a person of many talents!
Whether you’re the type of person who likes reading interesting facts about the game or you intend to impress others with how much you know about badminton, this article will come in handy for you.
Now I want to hear from you:
Feel free to reach out to me in the comments section below, I’d love to answer your questions and hear your feedback. We are also on Instagram @healthyprinciples_.
Amir picked up his first badminton racket at the age of 4 and fell in love with the sport. He joined Healthy Principles to help his fellow badminton enthusiasts get better at the game. In his spare time, you'll find him watching long rallies on YouTube. Learn more about Amir Bashir.