What Is Badminton? This. Is. Badminton
January 17, 2019
Ask most people what they think of badminton and they’d probably say it’s a nice, relaxing sport made for leisure centres and all-inclusive holidays.
While this may be the case for the casual player, there are a plethora of professionals lining up all over the world who take it far more seriously. To them, badminton is a fierce battle in which one must master tactics, finesses and raw physicality if they want to win.
We’ll have a little look at these competitors and the badminton betting odds soon. First though, a little context.
Badminton is a racquet sport like tennis but is played with a shuttlecock instead of a ball. It can be played in groups, but is most commonly enjoyed in singles and doubles. Regulation games are played on rectangular indoor courts, though it can be played recreationally in virtually any space.
The reason competitive badminton is played on an indoor court, rather than outside like tennis, is because even the slightest wind can drastically change the shuttlecock’s course. The shuttlecock itself can reach much higher speeds than balls used in other racquet sports, though it also decelerates quicker because the feathers on it cause a lot of drag.
Points are scored when the shuttlecock is struck and it lands in the opponent’s side of the court. Each player may only hit it once on their side before it crosses the net and play ends once it has or if a fault has been given. As such, play is made up almost entirely of volleys and matches are a very fast paced, back and forth affair.
International matches see players compete in a best of three games. They are played to a total of 21 points, though the winner must lead by at least a 2-point advantage. If this is never attained, then the first player, or team in the case of a doubles match, to score 30 points wins. Originally, points could only be scored by the serving side but this was changed in 2006 when the BWF switched to the ‘rally scoring’ system in which any side can score at any times.
Its roots can be found in ancient Greece, China and India. The last of those countries is where the modern sport was born, as British Army officers in the 1800s would play it in their spare time. Before the turn of the new century in 1899, the first unofficial men’s badminton championship was held, with a women’s tournament taking place the year after. The 20th century brought with it the first signs of badminton becoming a professional sport and in 1934 the Badminton World Federation, or the BWF, was founded.
The first BWF world championships were held in 1977 and there are regular regional and national tournaments in countries across the globe. The All-England championships are the most renowned tournament in the game, though, there are other prestigious ones like the Uber Cup and the Thomas Cup.
Of course, there’s one thing a sport needs to do before it is internationally validated – appear in the Olympics. For Badminton, it’s chance at the greatest sporting stage of all came even before the first BWF championships, as it made an appearance as a demonstration sport in 1972. Just sixteen short years later, it was raised to an exhibition sport before it was finally recognised as a full-medal Olympic sport for both singles and doubles games.
Where does that leave us in regards to the badminton betting odds?
There is currently no official league in Britain, as the last was disbanded in 2017, but there are a variety of cup competitions and other leagues internationally. One of the most prominent of these is the Premier Badminton League in India, which was founded in 2013.
There have been three editions of the competitions since then, with the inaugural year won by the Hyderabad Hotshots, who beat Awadhe Warriors in the final by three games to one. The second year was won by the Delhi Dashers who won against the Mumbai Rockets, while the last year saw the Rockets lose again, this time to the Chennai Smashers. Big names outside the world of badminton have begun to get involved as well, with cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar becoming the co-owner of Bengaluru Blasters.
Another country that has a steady, growing interest in the sport is the USA. Badminton experienced somewhat of an exposure in the Atlanta Olympics, in which the badminton events sold out and became huge spectacles for American sports fans. This has helped to raise international interest in the game and the U.S Open is now part of the wider BWF World Tour, which premiered this year.
The Open is comprised of 27 tournaments taking place in different countries, with various ranking points and prize money amounts. This is a statement of the sports intention to push itself into the mainstream and an indication of the possibilities in the badminton betting odds.
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Cyrus has been writing about sports and many other topics for major publications over the past five years. Now working in digital marketing, he spends his days arguing over football and dreaming of his beloved Manchester City winning the champions league.