The aim of this fast-moving and exciting sport is to hit the shuttlecock with a lightweight racket so that it passes over the net and lands inside the opponent's court.
Unlike other net sports, Badminton uses a shuttlecock instead of a ball. A shuttlecock is an open conical shape formed by feathers embedded in a rounded cork base The speed at which this projectile is struck is faster than in any other racket sport.
Badminton became an official sport at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. The competition at Tokyo 2020 will consist of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles.
A match consists of the best of three games, and the first player or pair to reach 21 points wins the game. Winning two games wins the match. A point is scored on every serve with the side winning the rally adding a point to its score. At 20-all, the side which gains a two-point lead wins that game. If the game continues to 29-all, next point wins.
In singles events, players are divided into 16 groups of three to four players each for a series of round-robin matches. The top-ranked player in each group then advances to the round-of-16.
In doubles, players are divided into four round-robin groups of four. The two top-ranked pairs in each group then progress to the quarter-finals.
International Federation: Badminton World Federation (BWF)
- Singles (Men/Women)
- Doubles (Men/Women)
- Mixed Doubles
A test of strategy as well as skill
When the shuttlecock is struck, it retains much of its speed as it passes over the net. Subtle ‘drop shots’ are played at the net to reduce the speed. Players can also add variety by changing how they grip the racket, the amount of power used and how they angle each shot.
High-level players anticipate two or three strokes ahead as they play. This mental battle to outwit an opponent is one of the most enthralling aspects of the sport.
In the singles game, it's important to move an opponent around the court to create open space into which the shuttlecock can be hit. In doubles, the pace of the game is even faster. In addition to each player seeking to capitalise on their own specific strengths, the pair will respond to the action at a dizzying pace as they rotate from attack to defence and back again.
In mixed doubles, the female player may come under sustained attack, placing the focus on her ability to return powerful shots from the opposing male player. The interplay between men and women in mixed doubles is always fascinating to watch.
Badminton's Asian strength
China has long enjoyed a deep pool of Badminton talent to draw from. The country has won a total of 31 medals since the Barcelona 1992 Games, including 18 gold medals – the most of any nation. At London 2012, China won all five titles.
South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia (where Badminton is the national sport) and Denmark are also traditionally strong contenders. In recent years, Japan has emerged as a power in the sport, while players from countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and India can also be found high in the rankings.
In men's singles, Chen Long (China), Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) and Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) won the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively at Rio 2016. Carolina Marin (Spain), P.V. Sindhu (India) and Nozomi Okuhara (Japan) were the women's singles medallists. Japan's Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo became the first pair from outside China to win the women's Olympic doubles title since Atlanta 1996.
What happens when a line judge can't see whether the shuttlecock has landed inside or outside the court boundaries?Answer
A:The line judge covers her eyes with both hands to signal to the umpire that she wasn't able to see where the shuttlecock landed. If the umpire is also unable to make a call, the play is treated as a let and the point replayed.
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