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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Eastern promise on courts
Action from the Badminton horse trials
Badminton is an annual event
The Duke of Beaufort's vast country estate in Gloucestershire should be better known for horse trials and hunting rather than an indoor racquet sport.

But badminton's roots date back centuries, having originated from a children's game known in England as "battledore and shuttlecock".

Using a paddle - a battledore - players worked together to keep a small feathered cork - a shuttlecock - in the air as long as possible.

The game had been played for centuries by children in the Far East, and was adapted by British Army officers stationed in India in the 1860s.

They added a net and the game became a competitive sport called "poona", with documented rules in 1867.

In 1873 the sport made its way back to England and gained its current title after guests at a Badminton House lawn party held by the Duke of Beaufort introduced it to their friends as "the Badminton game".

It was credit to its popularity that in 1877 the first set of written rules were laid out by the Bath Badminton Club.

Badminton is the world's fastest racket sport with shuttles hitting the 200mph mark
A national organising body followed 16 years later with the setting up of the Badminton Federation of England, which in 1899 held the first All England Championships.

Badminton's popularity grew dramatically in the 20th century and it soon became a major racquet sport worldwide with the establishment of the International Badminton Federation in 1934.

From nine founding members, the IBF now numbers 149 associate members, from Aruba to Zambia.

Having been a demonstration and exhibition sport in 1972 and 1988 respectively, the sport was finally granted Olympic status for the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Indonesia dominated that first Olympics, winning gold in each of the four disciplines, the country's first in Games history, and seven medals in total.

In Atlanta, when play-offs for bronze were introduced, golds were spread around.

The best shuttles are made from the feathers from the left wing of a goose
Denmark's Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen won the men's singles, with Bang Soo-Hyun of Korea taking the women's title.

Indonesia successfully defended the men's doubles title with China taking gold in the women's doubles.

Four years ago Indonesia again held on to the men's doubles gold, denying the Chinese a clean sweep of golds.

One of the enduring attractions of badminton is that men and women can compete on more or less equal terms in mixed doubles, which made its Olympic debut as an event in Sydney.

And more than a century after helping introduce the game to the world, Britain won acclaim with Simon Archer and Jo Goode taking bronze.

MEDAL TABLE (since 1992)
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Indonesia 3 5 1 9
Korea 2 2 1 5
China 2 1 3 6
Denmark 1 0 1 2
Malaysia 0 1 2 3
Great Britain 0 0 1 1
China 3 3 7 13
Korea 2 2 1 5
Indonesia 1 0 0 1
Denmark 0 1 0 1

  • Mixed doubles results included in men's table

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