There is not a coincidence that the game we now know as badminton was once called “Poona” – the sport emerged in the Western Indian city during British rule.

Poona is the descendent of a children’s game called battledore and shuttlecock, a version of which was played in ancient Greece over 2,000 years ago. In China, people played a game called “ti jian zi” , which means “kick the shuttle”.

The video below traces the sport’s modern roots in India.

Despite its ancient roots, badminton made its debut as a demonstration sport at the Olympics only in 1972, at the Summer Olympics in Munich. Played on a volleyball court, it amused more than 3,000 spectators.

Two decades later, the long-cherished dream of fans took form when became badminton became an official sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

An 1854 depiction of battledore and shuttlecock by John Leech.
An 1854 depiction of battledore and shuttlecock by John Leech.