Perhaps only second to the Olympics, The All England Open Badminton Championships might just be the most prestigious badminton tournament around. It is also the oldest badminton tournament in existence. The first tournament took place in London on April 4, 1899, as the “Badminton Association Tournament”.
Apart from involuntary cancellations from 1915-1919 and again from 1940-1946, the All England tournament has been going on every year for well over 100 years. Until 1977 it was even considered the unofficial World Championship of badminton. While the locations have changed from different venues in London and since 1994 to Birmingham, the special aura surrounding the tournament remains.
In this article, you will learn about the history and traditions of All England. You will see and hear interviews with former All England winners and officials.
The beginning of All England
Following a successful tournament in Guildford in 1898, the inaugural All England Championships was held in 1898 in Westminster, London. Only doubles were played. 14 pairs entered in men’s doubles, 13 pairs in women’s doubles, and 20 pairs entered in mixed doubles. All entries were from England. The point system used was best of 3 sets to 15.
D.W. Oakes won both men’s doubles and mixed doubles.
Shuttlecock complaints at first All England tournament
According to the April 8th issue of The Field, the Country Gentleman’s Newspaper, the tournament was a success, but the consistency of the shuttlecocks was not.