While the game of badminton is comparatively new to the United States, it is, in reality, a very old game. The game originated many years ago in India and was first called “poona,” probably after the city by that name in Bombay, India. British army officers, located in India, were impressed with this fascinating sport and some sixty or seventy years ago introduced it in their native land.
The first “poona” club was established in 1873, at Bath, England. Since the headquarters of the Duke of Beaufort were in Badminton, a village in Gloucestershire, where there was considerable interest in this newly introduced sport, it was decided to call the game “badminton.” This club made a number of changes in the rules of the original “poona” and the badminton rules were finally standardized by the National Badminton Association, which was organized in 1895.
The sport rapidly gained popularity in the British Isles and found its way to other countries. It was soon introduced into Canada and has proven so popular there that it is now a leader in their indoor sports. Canadian badminton clubs, in turn, have done much to promote the game in cities of the United States, bordering Canada. The first badminton club in the United States was organized in New York; and Boston followed with the University Badminton Club, which now has a building especially constructed for this sport. Today, many colleges and universities have added the sport to their intramural program and to their sports curriculum in physical education.
In addition to the changes in name and rules that have taken place, there has been considerable evolution in the equipment used. Instead of using shuttlecocks made with a woolen ball, to which a number of feathers were fastened, we now have a much livelier and more accurate shuttlecock known in this country as a “bird.” Instead of the old fashioned and cumbersome wooden bats we now have well-balanced, nicely polished ash rackets, tightly strung with fine lamb gut or silk.