The History of Badminton at the Olympic Games.
1972 Munich Olympic Games.
It was only in the mid-1960s that efforts were made to include badminton on the Olympic programme.
Badminton history was made at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games when for the first time it was included as a Demonstration Sport. The demonstration event was held on 4 September on two courts in a volleyball hall, over 3000 spectators enjoyed the action on the single day it was played. The demonstration took the form of an Invitation Tournament organized by the German Badminton Association under the auspices of the International Badminton Federation. (IBF) (now BWF).
Twenty-five players from eleven nations took part and both singles and men’s and mixed doubles were held. Owing to the lack of available time no women’s doubles were included. Interestingly, several entries in the double’s events were mixed teams of players from different nations a practice not allowed in official medal events at the Olympic Games since 1904.
In the men’s singles, Rudy Hartono (Indonesia) again showed his pre-eminence and decisively defeated Svend Pri (Denmark) in the final, but only after having been extended fully by Jamie Paulson of Canada, in the first two games of the first round.
Derek Talbot and Gillian Gilks (Great Britain) show their superiority in the mixed doubles event, winning without losing a game although fully extended in the last game of the final by Svend Pri and Ulla Strand (Denmark). Both played extremely well and Gillian’s interceptions at the net were outstanding.
The tournament was an undoubted success and the play was much appreciated by the enthusiastic crowd. Winners and runners-ups received gold and silver medals presented by the International Badminton Federation. It was said at the time that the German Badminton Association which staged the demonstration, should be congratulated on its success and on the hard work put in by its officials.
Men’s Singles: – Rudy Hartono (INA) bt. Svend Pre (DEN) 15-6, 15-1.
Women’s Singles: – Noriko Nakayama (JPN) bt. Utami Dewi (INA) 11-5, 11-3.
Men’s Doubles: – Ade Chandra and Christian Hadinata (INA) bt. Ng Boon Bee and Punch Gunalan (MAS) 15-4, 15-2.
Mixed Doubles: – Derek Talbot and Gillian Gilks (GBR) bt. Svend Pri and Ulla Strand (DEN) 15-6, 18-16.
At last, badminton had appeared in connection with the Olympic Games, they were hoping that it may be selected as part of the Olympic Games proper in Canada in 1976.
The Great Britain players were Gillian Gilks, Derek Talbot & Elliot Stuart all from England.
In 1978 progress stalled as a sensitive political issue rose to the forefront. A parallel body called World Badminton Federation (WBF) was formed on 24 February 1978; 13 Asian and 6 African associations became part of the breakaway group. The split of the IBF derailed its ambitions for badminton in the Olympics.
Efforts at rapprochement were made from both sides. On 26 May 1981 a ‘Deed of Unification’ was signed in Tokyo by the IBF and WBF.
The unification of the world body reignited its Olympic hopes. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch attended the IBF World Championships in 1983, the event produced some exhilarating displays of badminton and so impressed Samaranch that he was convinced badminton had a place in the Olympic programme.
Finally, Badminton would become an Olympic Sport
Mainly through the efforts of Stellan Mohlin and Craig Reedie who had been International Badminton Federation (now BWF) Presidents, badminton was finally accepted into the Olympic Games at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in East Berlin in 1985. It would have been perfect for badminton to take part in the Seoul Olympics in 1988, but the Olympic Charter says that there should be a period of seven years for the introduction of a new sport. The Badminton World had to wait until Barcelona in 1992 for the game to become an Olympic medal sport.
Poul-Erik Nielsen President of the IBF receiving the Olympic flag from James Worrall, senior Canadian IOC member at the 4th World Badminton Championships, Calgary, Canada in 1985.
Photo: – Louis Ross.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Sixteen years after Munich at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games badminton reappeared but this time as an Exhibition Sport; this caused problems as the I.O.C. only recognizes Demonstration sports not Exhibitions but the Korean Badminton Association presented the event after the Korean Organizing Committee had invited badminton to attend. The other problem was as it was not a Demonstration sport the players were not allowed to stay in the Olympic Village or march at the opening ceremony with their national teams. All the badminton players stayed in six apartments in Seoul which provided all the facilities of a good hotel. The Seoul National University Gymnasium was used as the venue and almost a full house of 5,000 spectators watched 30 of the world’s best players displayed their talents. The Korean Badminton Association presented the event and made it look like an Olympic Sport.
The only Great Britain player invited to play was Darren Hall from England who took part in the men’s singles and lost in the Bronze medal match.
Men’s Singles: – Yang Yang (CHN) bt. Icuk Sugiato (INA) 15-4, 15-2.
Women’s Singles: – Hwang Hye-Young (KOR) bt. Han Aiping (CHN) 1-11, 11-8, 11-6.
Men’s Doubles: – Li Yongbo and Tian Bibgyi (CHN) bt. Lee Sang-Bok and Lee Kwang-Jin (KOR) 15-11,15-7.
Women’s Doubles: – Kim Yun-Ja and Chung So-Young (KOR) bt. Lin Ying and Guan Weizhen (CHN) 15-11, 14-17, 15-5.
Mixed Doubles: – Park Joo-Bong and Chung Myung-Hee (KOR) bt. Wang Pengren and Shi Fangjing (CHN) 15-3, 15-7.
1992 Barcelona Olympics Games.
Debut as an Official Medal Sport.
Badminton had its debut as an official medal sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. At 10 am on 28 July 1992 the long-cherished dream of millions of badminton fans finally materialized. Foo Kok Keong of Malaysia struck the first shuttlecock in the Olympic badminton history in the brand-new Pavella de la Mar Bella, Barcelona saw 178 players from 37 countries take part. Four events were held in the first competition of the sport: men’s & women’s singles, men’s & women’s doubles, no mixed doubles were played at this first medal badminton Olympics. The tournament was run as a knockout competition and no playoffs were contested for semi-final losers, meaning that two bronze medals were awarded. The on-court action justified all the hard work that had gone into bringing badminton to the Olympics. An early-round woman’s doubles match – between Gill Clark/Julie Bradbury (England) and Rosiana Tendean/Erma Sulistianingsih (Indonesia) was so compelling that TV viewership reportedly was 150 million.
The Pavello De La Mar Bella was a new 5000-seater arena custom-built for badminton but now is used for multisport operation.
Susi Susanti Wins the First-ever Gold Medal for Badminton.
For Indonesia, these first Games for badminton provided two Olympic champions when Susi Susanti won the first-ever gold medal for badminton and two hours later, her fiancée Allan Budi Kusuma won the second Olympic gold medal for Indonesia in the men’s singles.
Photos: – Preben B. Soberg. Click on the images to enlarge.
Korea would win all the gold medals in the double’s events with Hwang Hye-Young and Chung So-Young winning the woman’s doubles and Park Joo-Bong and Kim Moon-Soo the men’s doubles. There was no mixed doubles event at this Olympics.
Of the 16 medals awarded Asia won 15 and Thomas Stuer- Lauridsen won a bronze in men’s singles for Denmark.
The television viewing figures were enormous and the new sport had made its initial impact. All around the world badminton associations joined their national Olympic committees, and the money to develop the sport began to flow in.
1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Mixed Doubles was introduced making badminton one of the few sports in which men and women share the field of play. As well as the four events held in Barcelona and an additional change to the tournament was the play off game for the Bronze medal rather than awarding two of bronzes. The tournament was held at the Georgia State University Gymnasium. Of the 15 medals awarded 14 of them again went to Asia and Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen from Denmark won the Gold medal in men’s singles. He is the first and only European male to win a gold medal at the games.
Ricky Subagia and Rexy Mainaky (Indonesia) won the men’s doubles gold medal in one of the closest fought matches on medal day against Malaysian’s Chea Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock.
The Chinese pair of Ge Fei and Gu Jun would win the woman’s doubles gold medal, they went to the Olympics with an almost unbeaten record as the top woman’s doubles pair, heading the Grand Prix points table, being Yonex All-England Champions and World Grand Prix final victories in 1994 and 1995. This would be the first gold medal for China in the Olympic Games.
Photos: – Preben B. Soberg.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Badminton’s First Olympic Mixed Doubles Gold Medals.
Korea’s Gil Young-Ah and Kim Dong Moon won badminton’s first Olympic mixed doubles gold medals when they beat the tournament favorites Park Joo Bong and Ra Kyung Min in three tightly contested games.
2000 Sydney Olympics Games.
The 2000 Olympics took place in Sydney in Australia from 15 September to 1 October and the badminton competition was held at Pavilion 3, Sydney Olympic Park. China won the majority of the badminton medals available at this Olympics, winning 4 of the 5 golds, 1 silver and 3 of the 5 bronzes. They had a clean sweep in the woman’s doubles event winning all the medals. Denmark’s Camilla Martin would be the first European woman to win a medal at an Olympic Games when she received the silver medal in the woman’s singles.
The final of the men’s singles saw China’s seventh seed Ji Xinpeng beat second seed Hendrawan (Indonesia).
In the woman’s singles, Camilla Martin had to settle for silver after losing to the top seed Gong Zhichao of China in the final. Martin led 10-7 the first game, but lost 13-10, 11-3.
After beating the world and Yonex All-England Men’s Doubles champions Ha Tae Kwon and Kim Dong Moon from Korea, the Indonesians Gunawan and Wijaya would be favourites in the final. The final was another Indonesia v Korea with Gunawan and Wijaya beating the second seeds Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung 15-10, 9-15, 15-7 to win the gold medal.
Seeding went according to plan in the all-Chinese woman’s doubles final with world champions Ge Fei and Gu Jun, who had rarely been beaten since winning the Olympic gold medal at Atlanta in 1996, outplaying Huang Nanyan and Yan Wei 15-5, 15-11.
Great Britain Win Their First Olympic Medal.
Great Britain won their first Olympic medal a Bronze in the Mixed Doubles, despite Archer suffering from a chest injury he had unfortunately picked up in the quarter-finals. Simon Archer and Jo Goode beat Denmark’s Michael Sogard & Rikke Olsen in three sets in the Bronze match, but it could easily have been Silver if not Gold. In the Semi-Finals, Archer and Goode lost to Indonesian top seeds Tri Kusharyanto & Minarti Timur 2-15, 17-15, 15-11 after leading 10-1 in the second game.
China took four out of five gold medals on offer at the Sydney 2000 Games – the legendary Ge Fei and Gu Jun won their second consecutive Olympic gold in women’s doubles, Gong Zhichao won the women’s singles gold, Zhang Jun and Gao Ling took the mixed doubles title, but the biggest shock of all was in the men’s singles when eighth seed Ji Xinpeng won the title against the odds. The gold medal that China did not win was when the Indonesians Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya won the men’s doubles.
Of the 15 medals, Asia won 13, Denmark 1 when Camilla Martin from Denmark won silver in the women’s singles and Great Britain 1 bronze in the mixed doubles.
The badminton event was a huge success from the near-perfect conditions for both players and officials, to the sell-out crowds for all but the first round of matches.
Gold medalist in the mixed doubles Zhang Jun and Gao Ling (China).
Photo: – Preben B. Soberg.
2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Gold and Silver Medalists at Athens 2004.
Men’s Singles – Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia) bt. Shon Seung-mo (Korea) 15-8, 15-7.
Woman’s Singles – Zhang Ning (China) bt. Mia Audina (Netherlands) 8-11, 11-6, 11-7.
Men’s Doubles – Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon (Korea) bt. Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung (Korea) 15-11, 15-4.
Woman’s Doubles – Zhang Jiewen and Yang Wei (China) bt. Huang Sui and Gao Ling (China) 7-15, 15-4, 15-8.
Mixed Doubles – Zhang Jun and Gao Ling (China) bt. Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms (Great Britain) 15-1, 12-15, 15-12.
Great Britain went one stage further than in 2000 with Nathan Robertson & Gail Emms winning the Silver Medal losing to Zhang Jun & Gao Ling (China) the 2000 winners 15-1, 12-15, 15-12. Tracey Hallam saved two match points in the third game to beat Camilla Martin (Denmark) the 2000 silver medalist to reach the quarter-finals but lost to the eventual Silver medal winner Mia Audina (now playing for Netherlands).
Nathan Robertson & Gail Emms (Great Britain) winning the Silver Medal losing to Zhang Jun & Gao Ling (China), (also the 2000 winners) 15-1, 12-15, 15-12.
Photos: – Chris Miller.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Paul Andjelkovic from England known throughout the badminton world as ‘Big Paul’ – was taking part in his third Olympics, helping ensure the smooth running of the badminton tournament. In recognition of his services to badminton, the International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now BWF) President Korn Thapparansi of Thailand presented him with the IBF Council’s Meritorious Service Award. The award is only presented for exceptional services to the sport, rather than just holding office or winning trophies. Paul went on to be involved with two more badminton Olympics events, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Photo: – Chris Miller.
Silver medalist in the men’s singles Shon Seung-Mo (South Korea).
Photo: – IOC – Tsuyoshi Kishimoto.
Asia won 12 Medals; Great Britain 1; Netherlands 1; Denmark 1.
2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The badminton competition was held from 9 August to 24 August at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium. With 173 competitors from 50 nations.
Gold and Silver Medalists at Beijing 2008.
Men’s Singles – Lin Dan (China) bt. Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) 21-12, 21-8.
Women’s Singles – Zhang Ning (China) bt. Xie Xingfang (China) 21-12, 10-21, 21-18.
Men’s Doubles – Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) bt. Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (China) 12-21, 21-11, 21-16.
Women’s Doubles – Du Jing and Yu Yang (China) bt. Lee Kyung-won and Lee Hyo-jung (Korea) 21-15, 21-13.
Mixed Doubles – Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung (Korea) bt. Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir (Indonesia) 21-11, 21-17.
For Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms (Great Britain) the 2008 Beijing mixed doubles was tough for the defending silver medal winners from Athens due to Injuries denying them results and costing them seeding and Robertson last moment ankle operation followed by four months without match practice. They had to play the world number one pair in the first round which they won then they lost to the eventual gold medal winners from Korea in the second round.
All the other GB players had tough draws losing in the 2nd round for the singles players and the other doubles pairs losing in the 1st round. All 15 medals went to Asia with China winning 8.
2012 London Olympics Games.
At the London 2012 Olympics badminton was held at the Wembley Arena which was originally used for swimming in the 1948 London Olympics, also it had been the home of the All-England Badminton Championships from 1957-1993.
172 athletes from 50 different countries would perform at one of the worlds iconic badminton venues, with every seat for every session sold months before the event, a fantastic atmosphere and excitement would be created at the Wembley Arena.
Badminton history played its part in the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony, where a man and women dressed in Victorian costumes were seen playing badminton in the opening ceremony. They represented Britain’s past history of inventing and developing sports games. The wooden rackets they used in this ceremony were sold on the London 2012 auction site a few days later for hundreds of pounds.
Click on the images to enlarge
London 2012 saw the introduction of group competition followed by knock-out. This resulted in more match play for competitors and a significant increase in television production hours. For the first time, the earlier rounds in all events would be played in groups and the winner of the groups in singles would go through to the knockout rounds and in the doubles, the winner and runner-up would go through to the knockout rounds. This caused problems in the final rounds of the group games in the Women’s Doubles as players knew who they would play if they won, so one Chinese pair, two Korean pairs and one Indonesian pair tried to lose in their matches with players hitting out of court and serving into the net. All four pairs were disqualified from the Tournament for unethical play and later they were given bans from the Badminton World Federation.
Photos: – Alan Spink – Action Photography. Click on the images to enlarge.
A Clean Sweep of Gold Medals for China.
The men’s singles final would be a repeat of 2008 Beijing. Lin Dan (China) versus Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia). It was truly a seesaw battle of 77 minutes, Lin Dan becoming the first men’s singles gold medalist to retain his title.
In the third game of the all-Chinese woman’s singles final, third seed Li Xuerui proved too strong on the day turning the Chinese form book upside down, defeating her top-seeded teammate Wang Yihan to take the gold medal.
The Danes Mathias Boe and Cartsten Mogensen were the only Europeans to reach the finals. They had encountered the Chinese pair of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng eight times before and only twice had the Danes been victorious. Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng would win 21-16, 21-15 to become the first Chinese pair to win a men’s doubles gold.
The main upset in the woman’s doubles competition came in the group stages due to the disqualification of four pairs for unethical play. The final would be between Qing Tian and Zhao Yunlei of China and the Japanese pairing Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa. The first set was an easy win for the Chinese pair. However, in the second game Fujii and Kakiiwa piled on the pressure saving three match points before the Chinese eventually lifted the gold medals 25-23.
The final of the mixed doubles would be another all-Chinese affair. China’s No.1 pair Zhanf Nan and Zhao Yunlei dominated the tournament as they ploughed through the group and quarter-final stages winning every match in two straight games. The final would not be any different when they duly wrapped up the title in 45 minutes beating Xu Chen and Ma Jin 21-11, 21-17. Zhao Yunlie would be the first badminton Olympian to win two gold medals at the same Games.
All of the gold medals were won by players from China, the Chinese team also collected two silvers and one bronze. 12 medals were won by Asia with China winning 8, Denmark 2, Malaysian 1, Japan 1, Korea 1, India 1 and Russia 1.
Photos: – Alan Spink – Action Photography. Click on the images to enlarge.
Woman’s singles medalist, Wang Yihan (China) – Silver, Li Xuerul (China) – Gold, Saina Nehwal (India) – Bronze.
Men’s doubles medalist, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) – Silver, Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng (China) – Gold, Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae (Korea) – Bronze.
Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei (China) Mixed doubles gold medalist. Zhao Yunlie would be the first badminton Olympian to win two gold medals at the same Games.
Photos: – Alan Spink – Action Photography.
Click on the images to enlarge.
London 2012 volunteers were called “Games Makers” as they helped to make the Games happen. The “Games Maker” recruitment process began in September 2010, with the London 2012 Organising Committee receiving more than 240,000 applications.
Up to 70,000 people were chosen to become “Games Makers” and they took on a wide variety of roles across the Olympic venues during the Games, from welcoming visitors to transporting athletes, helping out behind-the-scenes in the technology teams and making sure the results were displayed as quickly and as accurately as possible.
Thousands of the British Armed Services personnel were deployed to help with the security of the event.
2016 Rio Olympics Games.
.With the problems that had arisen at the London 2012 badminton event, where players were trying to lose games in the group play-offs. It was decided at Rio 2016 there would be draws after the group stage matches to prevent players from anticipating their opponents in the knockout stages.
The First European Woman to Win a Gold Medal.
History was made with Carolina Marin from Spain being the first European woman to win a gold medal when she won the gold in the women’s singles also Spain’s first Olympic badminton medal. Japan also won their first Olympic badminton gold medal in the women’s doubles.
Mixed doubles final, Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh (Malaysia) silver medalist (far end) versus Tontowi Ahmad and Liliana Natsir (Indonesia) gold medalist.
Photo: – IOC – Matthew Stockman
Great Britain Wins its First Men’s Doubles Medal.
In the men’s doubles, Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge (Great Britain) arrived in Rio ranked 22nd in the world before embarking on a giant-killing crusade toppling the third, fifth and eighth-ranked pairs on their way to medal history. They lost to the eventual gold medal winners China’s Fu Haifeng and Zhang Nan in the semi-finals.
Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge (Great Britain) men’s doubles bronze medalist.
Photos: – Badminton Photo.
Click on the images to enlarge.
In the bronze play-off match against Chai Biao and Hong Wei (China), Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge won a tense first game 21-18 with the Chinese pair snatching the second game 19-21. The British pair won the final game 21-10, but only after a review into the last point after a Langridge serve, and it was called out, which cranked up the tension with the pair suspecting they were seconds away from the bronze medal, the call was overruled by Hawkeye. They are the first British players to win a men’s doubles medal in an Olympic Games.
Olympic Badminton Results – 1992 to 2016.
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
In 1964, Tokyo was the host of the summer Olympic Games which had 163 events.
The games were scheduled for 2020 but owing to the Covid 19 crisis they were moved to 2021.
Badminton events will be held from Saturday 24 July to Monday 2 August at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, Chōfu, Tokyo. This multi-purpose sports venue was the first venue to be completed for the Games and are close to the main Tokyo Stadium.
Badminton Events will be held from Saturday 24 July to Monday 2 August 2021.
Para-Badminton at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic Games from 24 August until 5 September 2021.
Para-badminton will make its Debut at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Para-badminton Sport Classes / Events.
As in badminton, Para badminton athletes compete in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Athletes are classified into “Sport Classes” to ensure fairness in competition. In Para badminton there are six Sport Classes.
Wheelchair 1 WH 1Players in this class requires a wheelchair to play badminton. Players in this Sport Class usually have impairment in both lower limbs and trunk function.
Wheelchair 2 WH 2A player in this class could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and minimal or no impairment of the trunk. Players are required to play on a wheelchair in this class.
Standing Lower SL 3In this class a player must play standing. The player could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and poor walking/running balance.
Standing Lower SL 4A second standing class where the player has a lesser impairment compared to Sport Class SL 3. The player could have impairment in one or both lower limbs and minimal impairment in walking/running balance.
Standing Upper SU 5The players in this class has impairment of the upper limbs.The impairment could be on the playing or non playing hand.
Short Stature SH 6These are players who have a short stature due to a genetic condition often referred to as “dwarfism”.