In the West, badminton is seen as a backyard sport played during BBQs and social events. In other parts of the world however, particularly in Asia and Europe, it’s a professional sport that packs stadiums during major competitions.
Badminton is the second most popular sport in the world next to soccer, according to ESPN. It is considered the fastest racket sport. In the 1996 Olympics, over 1.1 billion people tuned in to watch badminton, making it the most watched sport during those games.
Even with its popularity, those in the West often deem badminton as a “weak” sport, compared to tennis and other sports recognized by the mainstream. However, we’re here to put those beliefs to rest. Here are a few reasons why badminton is a badass sport that’s highly underrated.
The world’s fastest tennis serve was clocked at 163.7 mph by Samuel Groth at the 2012 Busan Open Challenger Tennis. This pales in comparison to the world’s fastest badminton smash, which was clocked at 253.5 mph by Malaysian pro Lee Chong Wei at the 2015 Hong Kong Open.
While one can assume that a player runs more in tennis due to the larger court, statistics prove otherwise. Check out this game comparison between Boris Becker vs. Kevin Curren for the All English Championship and Han Jian vs. Morten Frost for the World Badminton Championships.
Badminton players are also subject to harsher rules compared to tennis players. For example, tennis players are allowed to rest and towel down after every point. Toweling down during a professional badminton game is a rarity and you can get a warning from the umpire if you do it without his/her consent.
Let’s not forget about this badass fight that happened during the Canada Open in 2013 that left one man needing stitches.
Just how strong can a badminton shuttlecock be? Watch Korean badminton superstar Lee Yong Dae break a WATERMELON with it.
Even our CEO played badminton recently and it didn’t end well for him:
For those interested, you can check out the Rio Olympics 2016 Badminton schedule here.