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Badminton Information

Badminton is a global sport that is played with the help of a racket between two players (single) or sometimes between two pairs (doubles). The two players are positioned at opposite sides in a rectangular court that is divided by a net in the middle. Player can earn score by striking the shuttlecock through their racket in the way that it passes by the net and lands in the court of the opponent player. Each player is allowed to strike once the shuttlecock once it is in his/her court. When the shuttlecock hits the ground, the rally is ended, it can also end if empire judges any fault during the play in their presence or absence.

The shuttlecock is made up of feathers, or sometimes of plastic in non competitive games, it has unique aerodynamic properties that cause it to fly quite differently than other balls that are used in other racket sports. Due to feather, the drag is much higher, which cause the shuttlecock to decelerate very quickly than other racket sports. As the flight of shuttlecock is highly affected by the wind, therefore it is mostly played indoors. Sometimes outdoor badminton is also played but that is for leisure purpose at a garden or beach.

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History of Badminton
If we look at the history of badminton it can be traced back to mid 1800s in the British India, as it was started by those military officers stationed there. There are some old photos which show English men including a net to the traditional game of of battledore and shuttlecock. That sport was similar to ball badminton which was invented in Tamil Nadu India. Earlier, there used to be woolen balls used which was mainly preferred by elite class in wet conditions, but in the end the shuttlecock survived. When those military officers retired and went back to England, they introduced this game there and proper rules were set.

In the start of 1875, officers who returned from India formed a club in Folkestone. Till 1897, badminton was played with same rules that were set out in India. Then, the Bath Badminton Club later modified the rules according to English ideas. J.H.E. Hart was the one who drew up rules in 1887 and with Bangel Wild, in 1890 he revised them again. In 1893, the national badminton association of England published official set of rules which were according to the latest regulations, and also officially launched Badminton in England at 6 Waverley Grove, Portsmouth on 13th September 1893. They were the ones who started and organized All England Open Badminton Cups which was the very first badminton tournament in the world in 1899. Although it was started in England, Denmark mostly dominated this game in Europe alongside other nations and has produced world class players in the past decades. China has also produced great legends in the history of badminton.

Game Play & Serving
Every game is played with 21 points, with the player getting a point whenever he wins a rally without mattering who served, which is opposite of the old system in which to score a point the player should have served. A match consists of best of three plays. As the rally begins, the server and the opposite player who is the receiver stand in diagonal direction. The server hits the shuttlecock as hard as it can land in the receiver's court. This is quite alike tennis, except for the fact that badminton serve should be should be hit below waist with pointed downwards, and there is no bouncing of shuttlecock. Players also stand inside the service court unlike in tennis. When the server loses a rally, the serve is passed to the other player. In single game the server has to stand in the right service court if the score is even, while in the left court if the score is odd.

However, in doubles, if the server wins a rally, the same player will continue to serve, but he will change the service court as by that he serve to a different opponent every time. While if the opposite player wins the rally and the score at that time is even, the player who is in the right serve court will serve, and if the score is odd the player in the left service court will serve. The determination of service court is done by their positions at the beginning of the previous rally and not by the position where they are standing at the finishing of the rally. Due to these rules, whenever a side gets the service, the server will be that player who didn't serve the last time. Whenever the server scores, it is vital that the shuttlecock must be passed over the short service line which is at the opponent's court, otherwise it will be counted as fault. When the score reaches 20 at both sides, the game will continue until one of the player gains a lead by two points, but that rule will be only up to maximum of 30 points, after that 30-29 is the winning score.

The shuttlecock is casted before the start of the game and the side where it is pointing will be the one who will be serving first. Similarly, a coin can also be tosses, when the winner will be able to chose serving or receiving. In a subsequent game, the winner of the previous game will serve first. As the matches are best of 3, a person to win the match should have won at least 2 games. In the first rally of a double game, the serving pair can decide on who will serve and vice versa for the receiving pair. The players will change ends when the second game starts. In third match, side is changed again when the score reaches 11 points. It is necessary that receiver and server both should remain inside their respective service courts, and should not touch the boundary lines, until the shuttlecock is stroked by the server. The other players can stand wherever they want, as long as they don't block the sight of receiver or server.

It is only a matter of time when players master themselves in the art of badminton, and then they have the power and ability to hit shuttlecock anywhere with whatever force they want. After the basics, badminton gives opportunity for much advance skill that make the learner more skilful than his counterpart. As players are required to cover short distance as quick as they can, the purpose of learning these advance tricks is to deceive the opponent player, in a way that either he gets tricked into the believe that some other shot is going to be played, or the opponent is compelled to halt his movement until he sees the real direction of the shuttlecock.

Deception is a term that is used in badminton in two major ways. Firstly, when the opponent is actually deceived, he loses his point right away as he became unable to change the direction immediately to hit the shuttlecock. However, the experience players are normally aware of these types of tricks and are very cautious to move very early, but even in that way, deception can prove to be useful as it compels the opponent player to holdup his movement for some time. When experienced players are playing against a beginner player, they move before the shuttlecock is hit, as they can anticipate the stroke on the basis of their experience.

For winning a game of badminton, players should use all the variety of strokes that they are aware of and are according to the situation. It ranges from smooth tumbling net return to powerful smashing. Many a times, rallies end with some smash, but for setting a good smash, a subtler stroke is required. E.g. a net shot will force the other player to lift up the shuttlecock, and this trick gives advantage to smash. But if the net shot is very hard then the opponent's player lift up will not be able to reach the end of the court, which will make a subsequent smash more difficult to return.

Deception is equally important in winning game. Professional players prepare themselves for variety of strokes that in a way look alike, but they use some slicing to deceive the player on the other side. The deception include in the speed or the magnitude of the stroke. If the opponent will try to anticipate the coming shot, then he might move in the wrong direction or might be unable to divert his body momentum in time that is required to reach and hit the shuttlecock.

International Competitions
The BWF (Badminton World Federation) manages and organizes many international tournaments that include the prestigious Thomas Cup, which is the leading men's international event which was first held in 1948-1949. Also the Uber Cup, which is women's leading tournament first held in 1956-1957. These tournaments take place after every two years. Normally, more than 50 countries participate in the qualifying round that takes place inside the continental federations. The final round involves 12 teams, which was earlier eight till 2008.

A gender mix international cup is also organized named as Sudiman Cup, which is also held after every two years, and it was started in 1989. In that cup, the teams are divided into 7 levels based on their prior performance of each nation. For winning this cup, a country has to perform very good in all the five areas that include men's double, men's single, women's double, women's single and mixed doubles. It also features relegation and promotion of team levels in the entry system. BWF World championships, which started in 1977, has a rule that only top 64 players of the world, and maximum 4 from each country can participate in any type of category. In Olympics as well as in BWF World cup, these restrictions of participants have stirred controversies around the globe as they are resulting in exclusion of very good players from the strong badminton nations.

Equipment of Badminton

a) Racquets
Badminton players use racquets, which are generally of lightweight, weighing between 70 and 100 grams excluding the grip or strings. Different materials such as carbon fiber, plastic, solid steel, etc are used in making the racquets. Today, carbon fibers are excessively used to manufacture high-quality light-weight racquets. In many racquets, light-weight aluminum alloy is used to make them stiff and durable. Earlier wooden racquets were used by the players, but wooden racquets are no longer preferred by the players.

The racquet size and shape should be appropriate as per the standardization. However, one can find racquets in various designs and shape in the market. A racquet may have an oval-shape head or an isometric head. Players choose these racquets as per their choice.
b) Strings
Badminton strings are very thin, usually have a thickness between 0.62 and 0.73 mm but are very durable. Many players may prefer thicker strings too. Professional players however prefer thinner strings with a higher tension level between 80 and 160 N. A casual player may prefer a lower level of string tension, as it could be difficult to manage the shot with a high-tension racquet. High string tensions often require superior control. However, most professional players set their own string tension level and choose their racquets accordingly.
c) Shuttlecock
A shuttlecock is a high drag projectile, which has an open and conical shape. The cone on the shuttlecock is formed by 16 overlapping feathers which are embedded into a round cork base. The cork is then covered with thin leather or sometimes with synthetic materials. Other type of shuttles includes synthetic shuttles that are mostly used for recreational purposes by the players who play it for leisure or fun. The major reason to use that shuttlecock is that it is less costly to use it as the feather one broke very easily. To make these nylon shuttles, one can use synthetic foam base along with a plastic skirt or sometimes with natural cork.
d) Badminton Court
The court of badminton is rectangular in shape and divided in two equal halves with a net in the middle. Courts are normally marked for both doubles and singles play, but the rules for marking are there only for singles. The double court is more wide compared to single one but length is same for both. However, one difference is there that the serve length dimension of doubles is shorter than singles.

The width of the full court is 6.1 meters, and for singles this dimension is reduce to 5.1. The length of full court is 13.4 meters. The service courts which are marked by a line in the centre dividing the width of the court are further divided by short service line at a distance of almost 1.98 meters from the net. In doubles play, the service court is marked by the long service line which is about 0.76 meters from the back boundary.

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Badminton in Australia
The biggest achievement of Australia in the field of badminton was in 1992 at Barcelona Olympics when one of the Australian badminton players, Anna Lao managed to reached in the quarterfinals. She also played the quarterfinals of women's doubles in the Olympics too. A player named Sze Yu earned another eminent achievement for Australian badminton in 1985 World Badminton Grand Prix. He was also the silver medalist in 1986 Commonwealth games. He also won US Open Badminton Championship in 1988. In 2008 Olympics, all the Australian badminton players were knocked out in the very first matches of the tournament. Recently, one of the biggest badminton tournaments is going to be held in Australia namely 2014 Australian Badminton Open. Top badminton players of the world are going to participate the tournament whose opening ceremony is going to be arranged in Sydney.

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