There was a child's game called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two players hit a feathered shuttlecock back and forth with tiny rackets. The game was called "Poona" in India during the 18th Century, and British Army Officers stationed there took the Indian version back to England in the 1860s.
The new sport was launched at a party given in 1873 by the Duke of Beaufort at his country place, "Badminton" in Gloucestershire. It quickly spread from England to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and made big strides in Europe.
Badminton is a game that somewhat resembles tennis and volleyball. It involves the use of a net, lightweight rackets, and a shuttlecock, which is a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers.
It is played by two or four players, on a marked-out area 44 ft (13.41 m) long by 17 ft (5.18 m) wide for the two-player game, and 20 ft (6.10 m) wide for the four-player game. A net is fixed across the middle of the court, with the top edge of the net set to a height of 5 ft (1.52 m) from the ground at the centre and 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) at the posts.
The players hit the shuttlecock back and forth over the net with the rackets. A point can be won only by the serving side. If the serving side fails to return the shuttlecock, it loses the serve; if the receiving side fails to return the shuttlecock, it loses the point and must receive again. A game is played to 15 points, except in women's singles, in which a game is played to 11 points.
In the Island Games, there are both men’s and ladies' singles and doubles, and a mixed doubles competition. The event traditionally starts with a Team competition, in which Jersey has been very successful over the years, including some terrific battles with Guernsey.