Would you ever have guessed that a Badminton birdie (aka shuttlecock) is the fastest recorded object in sports?
You must be wondering how a feathery object can beat Andy Roddick’s world-record serve of 246 kph. Here are some statistics for you –
- The fastest smash recorded in the singles competition is 305 km/h (189 mph) by Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
- Chinese men’s doubles star Fu Haifeng of China has set the official world smash record of 332 km/h (206 mph) on June 3, 2005 in the Sudirman Cup in Beijing.
- Malaysia’s Tan Boon Heong set a new world record when he hit a shuttlecock at 493 kph in July 2013.
Now compare this to the speed of Lamborghini Gallardo or Eurostar train at its maximum in-service speed (186.4 mph) or even a pelota ball. Yes, a simple arrangement of 16 overlapping goose feathers attached to a rounded cork head is faster. As shocking as it may seem, but this is the truth.
“The shuttlecock is poised to enter the Guinness Book of Records at 162 miles per hour (261 kph) — the speed it travels on the smash — compared to squash’s 151 mph (243 kph) and a mere 138 mph (222 kph) for tennis. Badminton’s promoters hope the speed record might bolster the sport’s image and help move it out of other racket sports’ shadows, particularly in regions where tennis and squash reign supreme. Besides Guinness, I saw some books claiming the speed for shuttlecock is about 300 km/h.” – Ming, Wang of Philippine Badminton Community, 1 January 2002.
It is a well known fact that a shuttle slows down as it travels through the air. It is believed that the shuttle slows down by 30% every two meters .
Badminton rallies last longer than that of tennis. Within 20 seconds, it is estimated that the player hit the shuttlecock 40 to 50 times. The on-court movements in a game of badminton are also more. It is also estimated that on an average, there are two thousand hits per match. During a match, the player can run up to four miles inside the court. Yet how seldom do we see the players roar while hitting the shuttle.
The level of physical fitness demanded for the sport must be quite obvious to you by now. A player requires high levels of concentration, agility and quick reflexes. He is required to be on his toes all the time to move around the court to return the unpredictable shuttle. The exchanges between top badminton players on court are indeed testing the limits of human physical ability. A strict diet regime and regular practice of 7 to 8 hours (this figure goes to double digits among the Chinese) are of paramount importance, if you have to stay in the game. Saina Nehwal had to give up on her vegetarian ways to meet the nutritional demands of the game.
Badminton has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds in the Asian countries. Indeed, it is considered as one of the most watched sports during the Olympics. The number of Indians taking up this sport has increased in the recent years and the credit mostly goes to the achievements made by our players in past years.