Badminton was invented long ago; its origins date back at least two thousand years to the game of battledore and shuttlecock played in ancient Greece, India and China. Badminton took its name from Badminton House in Gloucestershire, the home of the Duke of Beaufort, where the sport was played in the last century. By coincidence, Gloucestershire is now the base for the International Badminton Federation. Badminton was first played in Canada, in Ottawa, in 1900. It first appeared in the Olympics as a demonstration sport in 1972 and became a full medal sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Badminton is the world’s fastest racquet sport. The flight of the shuttlecock, a missile of cork and goose feather that players volley across the net, has been recorded at speeds of 332 kilometres per hour during live competition. Speed, agility and lightning-fast reflexes are essential to the game. Add stamina too—players have been known to cover more than six kilometres in a single match.