Badminton guide - London 2012 Olympic Games
Your complete guide to badminton ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
Converted: Fleet-footed, quick-thinking athletes alternately smash and caress shuttlecocks travelling at speeds in excess of 400km/h.
Confused: A low-budget version of tennis using an embarrassing excuse for a ball. Pensioners seem to like it.
Badminton - The essential guide
Street cred: In Asia the game draws TV audiences of millions and its superstar shuttlers adorn billboards and tabloid front pages.
Who’s good? The east Asians – particularly China and Indonesia. And, oddly, Denmark.
Glory-hunting potential: The British invented badminton but the national game is currently in the doldrums. Two leading players, Nathan Robertson and Robert Blair, had a public slanging match and now refuse to speak (to each other).
The basics: The first side to score 21 points (with a two-point lead) wins. The shuttlecock can’t bounce – neither within the rules nor in a literal sense.
Athlete to watch: Malaysia’s world number-one Lee Chong Wei has never won gold in a major competition. Will he choke again?
As seen in: ‘The Simpsons’ episode (in season 10) where Homer plays doubles with Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin and Ron Howard. It’s not fully explained why.
Almost useless fact: The best shuttlecock feathers come from the left wing of a goose. Beware cowboys trying to flog you one made from a right wing.
Do say: ‘Chinese megastar Lin Dan’s ongoing duel with Lee Chong Wei is one of the great modern-day sporting rivalries.’
Don't say: ‘Good shot, 40-love!’
British Olympic hopeful - Rajiv Ouseph
What would your advice be to someone taking up badminton?
Just play as much as you can in clubs or against friends. You have to be dedicated but it’s a rewarding career – we get to travel around the world.
If the monarchy suddenly disbanded, which song would you want played at your gold-medal ceremony instead of the national anthem?
'We Are the Champions' by Queen.
What's your favourite London spot or guilty pleasure?
Oxford Street. I like to spend hours just walking around there and I know I’ll then get reeled into the shops.
Who’s your Olympics crush?
What physical aspect of yourself are you most proud of? And which aspect are you least proud of?
Most is my endurance. Least: speed, I could be quicker.
What will be unique about a London Olympics?
The atmosphere and the buzz about the city will be great. The crowds will get behind us, even if they don’t know much about the sports they’re watching.