World's Fastest

Few people know it, but badminton is the world's fastest racquet sport. The shuttlecock, that missile of cork and goose feathers, can whip across the net as fast as 260 kilometres per hour. The best don't duck.

Badminton can firmly stake its claim to be the worlds fastest racket sport, with smashes reaching speeds of up to 332 kph.  Chinese men's doubles star Fu Haifeng of China has set the official world smash record of 332 km/h (206 mph) on June 3, 2005 in the Sudirman Cup in Beijing. .

The Badminton World Federation conducted speed trials for the first time at one of its major events, with microwave sensors recording the speed of smashes on the main court at the world mixed team championships.

The fastest smash recorded in the singles competition is 305 km/h (189 mph) by Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.  While world number two Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark has recorded the fastest smash for a singles player at 298 kph.

And with womens singles shuttler Huang Sui hitting at 257 km/h, tennis star Andy Roddick's world-record serve of 246 kph is some way off of badminton's blistering pace.

"The speed and agility of these athletes is just amazing," said Alex Loccisano, whose Melbourne-based company is providing the specialist sensors and software, which have also been used at major cricket and tennis events.

"Badminton can certainly consider itself to be the worlds fastest racket sport, and at this rate, will force this speed testing technology to move forward pretty quickly in order to keep up."

The equipment is currently only able to record speeds of up to around 350 km/h, so today's star shuttlers are already pushing the limits. 

The semi final game at the Commonwealth Games 2006 saw the shuttlecock speed record broken for the competition, although not by the Athens silver medallists, Robertson and Emms. Singapore's Hendri Saputra was clocked on the speed gun at 294km/h. That's some way shy of the world record of 332.

See video footage of smash recorded at 305km/h.



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