How Did Badminton Become An Olympic Sport

Last updated: March 11th, 2022

Badminton was earlier known as battledore and shuttlecock in 1800s England and Europe, and poona in India. Despite its rich history, it is only a few decades old in the summer Olympic games. Modern Badminton has often become a glorious path for Olympians to showcase their talents with requests. With China winning multiple colds in the past few summer Olympics, the game has been hogging the limelight for some time.

Badminton was included as an official sport in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics. Before that, it was played as a demonstration sport in the 1972 Munich Olympics and 1988 Seoul Olympics.

So, how did Badminton receive its glory in the Olympics? Here are all details related to your queries-

Its initial demonstration

  The modern Olympics started in Athens. But, Badminton was not included in the games. It is simply because the game was often not taken seriously. It became a professional sport during the 1800s and later 1900s when the UK and US sportsmen started to notice it.

England, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, and France together formed the international Badminton Federation in 1934. It became the Commonwealth Games sport in 1966.

After its inclusion in the Commonwealth Games, the federation campaigned to include Badminton in the summer Olympics. But, the golden chance only came during the 70s.

In the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Badminton was included first as a demonstration sport. The demonstration match was held on 4th September 1972. Two volleyball courts were transformed into badminton courts. Nearly 3000 spectators were made acquainted with this new age sport with enthusiasm. Interestingly enough, an electronic scoreboard was also used in these two games.

Nearly 25 players took part in the International Badminton Federation. The game proved to be a treat to the eyes, and spectators loved it.

Japanese shuttler Takagi Noriko(aka Noriko Takagi nee Nakayama) and Indonesian shuttler Rudy Hartono were winners of the Women’s and Men’s singles titles in the singles, respectively. In the doubles section, the Indonesian team of Ade Chandra and Christian Hadinata of Indonesia won the men; ‘s doubles game, and Derek Talbot and Gillian Gilks of England won the mixed doubles game. In this demonstration event, the women’s doubles were not included.

The Setback

Despite such a good start, Badminton was not included in the following Olympics due to political issues. Besides IBF, a parallel union called World Badminton DFederation formed by 13 Aidan and Six African countries caused a delay. Due to the two warring groups, Badminton failed to get a revelation.

But, fortunately enough, the two bodies unified through the historic “Deed of Unification” on 26th May 1981 in Tokyo.

Aftermath and announcement of the inclusion

After Unification, the World Badminton Body peached for its inclusion in the SUmmer Olympic hopes. In 1983, IOC chief Huan Antonio Samaranch became fascinated with the excellent sports display in the IBF World championship.

He preached for this game and stated that Badminton was indeed an Olympic Level sport. In the 90th IOC Session held on 5th June 1985, IOC announced that it would include Badminton as an official sport from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The IOC also announced that the game would be an exhibition sport in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

It caused joy among badminton lovers all over the world. To celebrate this inclusion in THE Olympics, the IBF World Championship in Calgary presented the IOC flag among the other flags.

1988 Seoul Olympic Exhibition sport

In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the Seoul National University Gymnasium was held as the venue for a demonstration of Badminton. Teams from eight countries played in front of a 5000 audience.

South Korea became a show stopper with three gold medals in WOmen’s singles(Hwang Hye Young), Women’s doubles(KimYun Ja and Chung So Young), and Mixed Doubles(Park JOO Bong and Chung Myung Hee). On the other hand, China won two gold medals in Men’s Singles(Yang Yang) and Men’s doubles(Li Yongbo and Tian Bingyi).

Its debut in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

The glory finally came to Badminton when it debuted in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics on 28th July. 178 shuttlers from 37 countries took part in this historic event held at the Pavella de la Mar Bella.

Malaysian Shuttler Foo Kok Keong became the first player to strike the shuttlecock in the first-ever official Olympic badminton match.

With the sportspersons displaying their skills on the court, this game became a treat to the sports lovers’ eyes. The Women’s doubles match between England and Indonesia gained 150 million TV viewers across the globe. Bedless to say, spectators were amazed to watch the gameplay between Gill Clark- Julie Bradbury and their opponent team Rosiana Tendean- Erma Sulistianingsih.

Men’s singles. Men’s doubles and Women’s Singles. The inclusion of this sport became a favorite among the audience, and people loved watching the matches of Women’s singles.

In the 1992 Olympics, there were two bronzes in each Badminton category. The losing semi-finalists were both awarded the Bronze. Hence.

Gold medal winners:

Men’s and women’s Singles

Allan Budi Kusuma from Indonesia won the gold medals in Men’s singles. On the other hand, Susi Susanti from Indonesia won gold in Women’s singles. These two medals were the first-ever gold medals won by Indonesia in the Olympics.

Men’s and women’s doubles

South Korea came close to second by winning the two golds in Men’s doubles, comprising a team of Park Joo Bong and Kim Moon Soo. South Korean players Hwang Hye Young and Chung So Young also won the gold in Women’s Doubles.

 Silver Winners:

Men’s singles: Ardy B Wrinata(Canada)

Women’s Singles: Bang Soo Hyun(Korea)

Men’s Doubles: Rudy Gunawan and Eddy Hartono(Indonesia)

Women’s doubles: Guan Weizhen and Nong Qunhua(China)

Bronze Medals

Men’s Singles:

  • Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen(Denmark)
  • Hermawan Susanto(Indonesia)

 Women’s Singles:

  • Tang Jiuhong(China)
  • Huang Hua(China)

Women’s doubles

  • Gil Young Ah and Shim Eun Jung( Koroa)
  • Lin Yanfen and Yao Fen(China)

Men’s doubles

  • Jalani Sidek and Razif Sidek(Malaysia)
  • Li Yongbo and Tian Bingyi(China)


After the initial introduction, the game has become one of the highest watched sports in the Summer Olympics. In the 1996 Olympics, Mixed Doubles was included. From the 2012 London Olympics, the group competition with knock-out matches started.

Moreover, play-off bronze was also introduced for Bronze. The Badminton game is here to stay in the Olympics with new players displaying their talents for sports lovers.


Rahul Singhal is a badminton enthusiast who loves nothing more than spending time on the court. He has been playing the sport for over 10 years and has competed in numerous tournaments. When he's not on the court, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

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