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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Laws of Badminton

The game
Like tennis, badminton can be played by singles and doubles, mixed or same sex.

Matches are played to the best of three sets.

The sport's governing body, the International Badminton Federation (IBF), has introduced a series of rule changes to make the game faster and more entertaining.

Under the old system the first player (or team) to reach 15 points won the set, except in women's singles when the target was 11 points.

However both men and women now play up to 21 points. If the score reaches 20-20, the winner is the player or team with a two-point advantage.

And if the score goes up to 29-29, the winner is the first to reach 30 points.

In badminton the serve is of huge importance. Points used to be only won on serve.

But this has been scrapped under the new changes, so a player or team can win the point without holding serve.

A team now has only one serve in doubles, rather than two under the old rules.

In singles, players serve diagonally from one service box to another, alternating between the left and right side of the court as points are won.

The server always serves from the right-hand box at the start of a game and when they have an even number of points.

They serve from the left-hand court when they have an odd number of points.

In doubles, the player on the right always starts the serve and, when a point is won, the players switch sides and the server then serves from the left, continuing to alternate until a serve is lost.

At present a player can only score if they are serving but now points will be awarded to the winner of each rally. Second service in doubles has also been scrapped and best-of-three-set matches will be won by the first to 21 points, instead of 15 for men and 11 for women.

Service action
The shuttlecock must be hit below the server's waist and the racket head must stay below the server's wrist, which means the shot must be played underarm.

The court
Badminton is played indoors, on courts 6.1m wide by 13.4m long.

The net posts are 1.55m high.

Courts should have a clearance of 2m on all sides and a ceiling height of 12m.

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