The Birth Place Of Badminton: History And Origin Of The ‘Poona Game’
The initial informal set of rules for badminton was developed in India by the British colonists in 1867.
In recent years, Badminton in India has witnessed an unprecedented rise in popularity, sparked by the emergence of global badminton superstars like PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Saina Nehwal, and others. But the connection of India with the game goes back to ancient times. Believe it or not, India played a major role in badminton emerging as a global sport. Keep reading to find out more about its history and origin.
History of Badminton
The precise origin of badminton is obscure, but history is replete with references to games involving rackets and shuttlecocks in the records of ancient India, Greece, and China. The mentions of the game are about 2,000 years old.
The transformation of Battledore into Badminton
In medieval Europe, there was a popular game for children known as battledore and shuttlecock, in which players used a battledore (paddle) to keep a small-feathered shuttlecock in the air for as long as they could. There was another similar game called Jeu de Volant that was mostly played by the European aristocrats during the 17th century. But the transformation and amalgamation of the medieval racket sport to becoming a globally recognized sport took place in India.
The “Poona Game”
Around the 1860s, British army officers stationed in India were introduced to the indigenous version of the game that was played in the country for centuries. The army officers came up with their own adaptations of the sport, primarily by adding a net and called it Poonah or Poona, after the name of the town (Pune) in which the garrison was based. It is significant to mention that the first set of informal rules for badminton was penned down in India by the British colonists in 1867.
The “Badminton Game”
British soldiers returning from India carried the game back to England, and almost immediately, it grabbed the attention of the erstwhile Duke of Beaufort. The Duke, in 1873, introduced the Poona game at a lawn party, taking place at his Gloucestershire estate. The Duke named it ‘the Badminton game’ after his estate’s name – the Badminton House. This is how the sport came to be known as badminton.
The first dedicated club for Badminton in India
The first dedicated club for badminton, The Bath Badminton Club, was formed in 1877, and ten years after, the club rewrote the informal rules for the game that were coined in India. The Bath Badminton Club rules created the framework for modern-day badminton.
Badminton is currently the second most popular sport in the world, and the Indian city of Pune played a major role in introducing the sport to the world.