Wheelchair Badminton

Wheelchair badminton follows many of the same game rules as badminton. A match consists of the best of three games; a game is won by the team which first scores 21 points. Players use a racket and a shuttlecock to volley the birdie back and forth across a net played on a court.


The game originated in India and was known as Poona. British Army officers learned this competitive sport and brought it back to England in the 1870’s. Poona developed from a children’s game called battledore and shuttlecock.

The object of the game was to see how long a group could volley the shuttlecock by hitting it with a battledore, or paddle. Originally it was played without a net. The shuttlecock is often called a bird as it is made up of 16 real feathers for competition.

As early as the 5th century the Chinese played ti jian zi by kicking a shuttle into the air. By the 1600’s Europeans were playing jeu de Volant, a game that used a racket rather than feet.

The Duke of Beaufort officially introduced the game in 1873 to guests at a lawn party on his country estates, Badminton. It became popular among the British elite and people began calling the sport the Badminton game.

The game was played on indoor and outdoor courts with the original shape of the court in an hourglass shape and later changed to a rectangle.

In 1966 it was introduced as a part of the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, with initially all five divisions included – singles (men and women), doubles (men and women), and mixed doubles. In 1972 it was introduced as a demonstration sport in Munich, Germany.

In 1992 badminton became an Olympic sport in Barcelona for the first time. In Atlanta in 1996, a mixed doubles event was included, which was the only mixed doubles event in all of the Olympic sports.

The Badminton World Federation has just been granted the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) recognized International Federation Status (IF). The IPC has recognized the importance of creating a network of recognized international federations that are not eligible at this stage to be IPC members, but contribute to the development of the sport.

Para-Badminton began in 1995 at the Stoke Mandeville Games. The competition was held in May 2011 with England hosting the 4 Nations Para-Badminton Series 2011 English Championships.

The 4 Nations Series are the flagship wheelchair badminton events held in Britain and Ireland, attracting a range of new competitors to take on their first competition. The Championships include players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The 2013 Para-Badminton World Championships will be held in Dortmund, Germany, November 5th-10th, 2013.

This is the third time the Para-Badminton World Championships are being held in Europe. Previously, the championship games were held in Spain in 2001 and Wales in 2003.

Wheelchair Badminton Classifications

Wheelchair badminton classifications of players are assigned by IBAD (International Badminton Association for the Disabled) authorized classifiers. Normally these classifications are permanent, unless stated on the documents issued by IBAD. Both medical and technical aspects are measured during the classification process.

Wheelchair Class 1 – W1

Tetraplegic players with lesions above C8 have severe diplegia, minimal limitations in control of their upper extremities, have moderate trunk balance disorders, severe spasticity in their lower extremities (spasticity grade scale for muscle tone: 4).

Wheelchair Class 2 – W2

Paraplegic players can participate in wheelchair badminton if their lesions are above T12, they have severe diplegia, moderate disorders in trunk balance, and moderate spasticity in their lower extremities (spasticity grade for muscle tone: 5).

Wheelchair Class 3 – W3

Paraplegic players with lesions of L1 and below have slight diplegia, minimal trunk balance problems, and slight spasticity in lower extremities also can participate in wheelchair badminton.

Standing Below Waist Class 2(a) – STL2 (a)

This class is for amputees only with a single above knee or double below knee amputation.

Standing Below Waist Class 2 – STL2

This classification is for standing players who have a reduction in muscle power of at least 20 points in one or both limbs, or an equivalent disability, one non-functional leg, polio affecting one leg, stiff hip and knee (together), hip luxation with visible shortening, two moderate legs, moderate CP, moderate hemiplegia, moderate incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI), or spina bifida at level S1.

Standing Below Waist Class 3 – STL3

Players in this classification have a reduction of 10-19 points of muscle strength in one or both lower limbs or an equivalent disability. This can include very mild impairment in both legs, single stiff ankle, amputation of foot through all metatarsals, hip subluxation, restricted movement of one hip, knee or ankle; polio with a loss of at least 10 points in muscle strength in one or both lower extremities, mild CP of the lower limbs, mild hemiplegia, shortening of one limb more than 7cm or a comparable impairment profile.

Standing Above Waist Class 1 – STU4

This classification includes individuals with severe impairments of nonplaying arm, with a minimal disability, loss of muscle strength of 50 points, above elbow amputation (AE) or through elbow joint, brachial plexus legion with paralysis of the whole arm, shortening of the arm through the elbow without a functional hand or a comparable impairment profile.

Standing Above Waist Class 2 – STU5

Classification of players includes mild to moderate impairment of nonplaying arm, minimal disability loss of muscle function of 30 points, a single below elbow amputation (BE) but through or above the wrist joint, brachial plexus lesion with some residual function, dysmelia or similar disabilities comparable with a BE or comparable impairment profile.

Dwarfs – DST6 (1)

Players are under 120 cm in height with restrictions caused by growth conditions. Athletes with conditions such as SED, diastrophic dysplasia and certain cases of cartilage-hair hyperplasia are placed in this class. These classes include people with achondroplasia under the height limit and are still fairly mobile.

Dwarfs – DST7 (2)

This classification is mainly for players who have the condition of achondroplasia, although there are other Dwarfism conditions which fall into the BMDST6 (1) classification. Women cannot be taller than 135cm and for men the maximum height is 140cm.


Wheelchair Badminton or Para-Badminton is one of the newest sports on the scene for wheelchair users and others with disabilities. With the Paralympic Games on the horizon in London athletes have their eyes set on the goal to raise awareness of this sporting event. There is no better way to accomplish this than through the competitions at the birthplace of the Paralympic sports at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Spectators can watch these games for free according to Badminton England website.

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