Badminton, from its founding, had the reputation of being a sport for members of the upper class who didn’t want to work too strenuously.
The feathery shuttlecock and net height were designed to encourage lobs and make slams nearly impossible.
The first American badminton club, formed in New York City in 1878, specifically limited play to “men and good-looking single women.”
However, the International Badminton Federation, based not far from the game’s birthplace in Gloucestershire, is doing its best to change that Poppy image.
Formed in 1934, the IBF sponsors high-stakes championships for women, men, mixed couples, and children.
The image upgrade seems to be working: badminton is now Malaysia’s national sport and since 1992 has been a part of Olympic competition.
According to the organization’s Web site, the only thing the sport needs now is more and better media coverage:
“In these days of mass communications, the importance of television to a world sport is self-evident. Television brings the action, the excitement, the explosive power of badminton into homes around the world.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.