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Badminton draw for the Games

Group A England, Malaysia, Nigeria, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago

Group B Scotland, Australia, Maldives, Jersey, Guernsey

Group C Wales, Singapore, Ghana, Barbados, Botswana

Group D New Zealand, India, Mozambique, Seychelles, Northern Ireland

The sport of badminton started life nearly 150 years ago in the great hall of one of the stately homes of England, Badminton House in Gloucestershire.

The game's historians tell us that is where the daughters of the Duke of Beaufort used to play battledore and shuttlecock, a forerunner of the game we now know as badminton.

To make life more interesting, they rigged up a string across the hall and the game of badminton was born. It was soon taken up by army officers staying at Beaufort House and by the mid-1870s, badminton clubs were being set up all over the country.

The sport's first governing body, later to become the Badminton Association of England, was formed in 1893 and promptly established the laws of the game, covering the size of the court and the scoring system.

During the 20th century badminton grew dramatically from a country house pastime into a major racket sport here in the UK and worldwide.

It is one of the few sports where men and women can compete on more or less equal terms, hence the popularity of mixed doubles in the many clubs and leagues around the country.

Badminton, an Olympic sport since 1992, was introduced into the Commonwealth Games at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1966, since when it has become one of the most popular spectator events at the Games.

The men's competitions have been dominated by the Malaysians, who have won five of the nine singles titles and six doubles titles. They landed a clean sweep of singles, doubles and the team title on home soil in Kuala Lumpur four years ago.

However, England can claim pride of place at the top of the women's honours tables, winning six of the nine singles titles and eight successes in the doubles. England can also point to seven mixed doubles victories as well.

Players from 23 nations competed in the men's event at Kuala Lumpur and 20 nations were represented in the women's section.

You can expect a high level of tough competition when the Manchester 2002 action starts at the brand new Bolton Arena. So count yourself in!

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