Badminton begins jump in U.S. popularity

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Photo used with permission from Google Commons

The USA Badminton organization is leading badminton’s rise in popularity in the U.S..

It’s game point and both players are exhausted after exchanging clear, drop and smash shots. The score is 20 – 19 and the leading player has the serve. He sets up for a short serve, meaning his foot is aligning with the box. The serve causes the opposing player to make a return at the service area. The rally begins as the two players exchange clear and drive shots for about two minutes. The trailing player decides to switch it up by executing a drop shot close to the net to force the leading player to perform a lift shot. In perfect position, the trailing player smashes it in an unattainable location and evens the score. This is a pivotal scene in a game of badminton.

Badminton’s popularity in the U.S. has been steadily rising because of the USA Badminton organization, which organizes clubs and tournaments to train players to eventually participate in Olympic-level competitions. According to the organization, they “will foster growth of badminton in the United States of America and competitive excellence for U.S. athletes.”

The Olympics has always been one of the largest sporting events in the world, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The Olympics feature many different sports that are played worldwide, including basketball, soccer, table tennis, swimming and badminton. “I used to watch [the Olympics], however I don’t watch it a lot now. I am mostly into winter sports such as snowboarding and skiing,” sophomore Eric Liu said.

According to the Badminton Professor website, the sport has a long history. It has evolved and been adopted by many countries. Modern badminton, however, was created by a British-Indian officer in the Indian city of Poona. This style of gameplay is the most similar to the modern game, which has singles and doubles for 21 points. “I knew that badminton was a sport that was played all over the world and its origins were from my home country, India. This sport is something that resonated with me the minute I picked up the racket. If we were to make this a sport that the U.S. played more competitively, I feel other people would have the same appreciation and love for the sport,” sophomore Varun Kannepalli said.

Wootton should create a badminton team. It’s a great form of exercise and is easy to pick up.”

— Eric Liu

Knowing the rules helps players win because they can settle disputes about points. Badminton is centered around players keeping the rules in mind because there are many instances where players may lose a point assuming something that is untrue. “I know the basic rules, however I have no idea of which teams are dominant in the Olympics nor do I know the names of the athletes. Knowing people is not as important as having knowledge of what’s going on,” Liu said.

ESPN reports that high school badminton is rising in popularity in the U.S. Looking at the programs available in Montgomery County, the area does not have a badminton program. “Wootton should create a badminton team. It’s a great form of exercise and is easy to pick up,” Liu said.