Australia and Olympic Badminton
In Australia, badminton was first played in 1900 and from then it became a popular pastime for church groups which played the game in church halls. The Australian Badminton Association was formed in 1935, one year after the formation of the International Badminton Federation.
Anna Lao and Rhonda Cator were Australia’s first badminton representatives at Barcelona 1992. Lao made it through to the quarter-finals in the women’s singles and, with Cator, finished in the same position in the women’s doubles. Australia has been represented at each Games since Barcelona.
In London, Australia’s women’s doubles pairing of Renuga Veeran and Leanne Choo matched Lao and Cator’s result in the event as they bowed out in a close quarter final with Canada. Four years later in Rio, Australia’s team of five athletes all faced much higher-ranked challengers and unfortunately all were eliminated in the preliminary rounds of competition.
Badminton became an Olympic sport at Barcelona in 1992, after being a demonstration sport at Munich in 1972. Initially men’s and women’s singles and doubles were introduced. At Atlanta in 1996, a mixed doubles event was included. The Asian nations of China, Indonesia and Korea have dominated the badminton medals at the Olympics. Susi Susanti, in winning the women’s singles in Barcelona, became Indonesia’s first-ever medallist, 40 years after her country first competed at the Games. A few hours after Susanti’s win, Alan Budi Kusama won Indonesia’s second gold medal in the men’s badminton singles.
The object of the game is to hit the shuttlecock over the net and either land it in your opponent’s half of the court, or have them hit it into the net or out of the court. A badminton match comprises the best of three games played to 21 points. A coin is tossed before the first game, and the winner of the toss may choose to either serve or receive first or to pick an end of the court. Each rally results in the addition of a point to the score of the winner of the rally (that is to say, being either the serving side or the receiving side as the case may be) and the winning side serves next.
A match consists of the best of 3 games of 21 points. At 20 all, the side which gains a 2 point lead first, wins that game. At 29 all, the side scoring the 30th point, wins that game. Each of the five Olympic events involves a single-elimination tournament, with the top eight players or pairs seeded.