Badminton serves up bewildering changes of pace that tax the mental and physical reactions of even the most seasoned player, as gentle drop shots alternate with 400kph smashes.
Traditionally, the sport has been dominated by the Chinese, who have won 18 of the of the 34 gold medals that have been contested since the sport made its debut in 1972.
We take a look into the sport to help you make sense of it all as the Games arrive with a fresh batch of contenders determined to dominate.
RadioTimes.com brings you up to speed with everything you need to know about badminton at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in the summer of 2021.
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When is badminton at the Olympics?
Badminton runs between Saturday 24th July until Monday 2nd August.
Medal finals will take place on the final four days of the contests, starting on Friday 30th July.
Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.
Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don’t miss what they have to say.
What badminton events are at the Olympics?
The Olympic competition will be held at Tokyo’s newly constructed Musashino Forest Sport Plaza and will consist of five medal tournaments:
Men: Singles and Doubles
Women: Singles and Doubles
The tournaments start with a round-robin group stage, with three or four players in each group. The highest scoring player from each group will then progress to the knockout phase of the competition.
A badminton match consists of three games, with the first player to reach 21 points winning the game.
If the score reaches 20 all, then the winner will be the first player to take a two point lead, and if the match reaches 29-all then the first player to 30 wins.
What height is the badminton net?
The players, or shuttlers, will compete on a 44ft long court, which will be either 17ft or 20ft wide (for singles and doubles matches, respectively.) The net stands 5ft 1in high at the ends, dipping to 5ft in the middle.
Which Team GB athletes will compete in Olympic badminton?
There will be seven British athletes taking part in the badminton events. The mixed doubles will be contested by Lauren Smith and former Olympic medallist Marcus Ellis. Smith will also play in the women’s double alongside Chloe Burch.
Toby Penty and Kirsty Gilmour will compete in the singles, while Ben Lane and Sean Vendy will play in the men’s doubles.
Competition for the women’s title should be especially hot, as the reigning Olympic champion, Spain’s Carolina Marin, is out with a knee injury. India’s P.V Sindha is the current world champion and won the silver medal in Rio and is looking to take an extra step up the podium.
There will be stiff competition from Chen Yufei and Yamaguchi Akane, Olympic debutants from China and Japan, who look capable of taking the fight to their elders.
The reigning men’s Olympic champion, China’s Chen Long, is expected to be challenged by home favourite Kento Momota, a two-time world champion .
The Olympic badminton events will be held between the 24th of July and the 2nd of August.
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