Badminton Facts
  • Badminton claims to be the second most-popular participation sport in the world. Only Soccer beats it.
  • It's officially the fastest racquet sport in the world. The shuttle is smashed around the court at speeds of up to 200 mph.
  • Its Olympic debut was in 1992 in Barcelona. Since 1992 Asian players have won 42 of the 46 Olympic medals.
  • 1.1bn people watched the first Olympic badminton tournament on TV.
  • During an average top-level match ten shuttles are used with players hitting it roughly 400 times each. It's a tiring business - they can travel several miles around the court
  • The record for the shortest match? Six minutes. Ra Kyung-min (South Korea) and Julia Mann (England) hold the record. Peter Rasmussen (Denmark) and Sun Jun (China) hold the record for the longest match - 124 minutes.
  • In Malaysia and Indonesia crowds of up to 15,000 people regularly fill the stands to cheer on their heroes.
  • The International Badminton Federation was established in 1934 and now has 148 member countries including England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
  • Celebrity fans include snooker player Mark Williams and golfers Padraig Harrington and Nick Faldo. You can even buy Barbie a racquet and shuttles.
  • The Chinese originally played a version of badminton called Ti Zian Ji. They didn't use racquets though, they used their feet.
  • The Duke of Beaufort held parties at his estate, Badminton House in 1873. His guests were invited to play a game with shuttlecocks - and so the official game of badminton was born.
  • The origin of the shuttlecock is a bit hazy. One theory is that writing feathers were stuck in corks when they weren't used. During quiet moments the 'pen' store would be thrown, or whacked, around.
  • Olympic shuttles are made of 16 bird feathers, string and very strong glue. The Kansas City Museum is home to the world's largest shuttlecock - 48 times bigger than normal.
  • While most players choose synthetic strings, some still use gut made from the dried stomach lining of animals such as cows or cats.