Badminton at the Tokyo Games will be comprised of five medal events:

  • Men’s Singles
  • Women’s Singles
  • Men’s Doubles
  • Women’s Doubles
  • Mixed Doubles

In singles, competition begins with a round-robin phase from which 16 players advance to an elimination round culminating with bronze- and gold-medal finals. Doubles follows a similar format, just with a smaller field (approximately 16 teams per).

Tokyo will mark the eighth Olympic appearance for badminton since the sport’s debut in 1992. Asian countries have dominated, with China comfortably atop the all-time medal standings (41 total, 18 gold). Only two non-Asian competitors have captured Olympic gold in badminton: Spain’s Carolina Marin in women’s singles (2016) and Denmark’s Paul Hoyer-Larsen in men’s singles (1996).

Overview

Matches are best two-of-three games. A game is won by the player or pair that scores 21 points first (win by two). If the score reaches a tie at 29 points, the winner of the next point will win the game.

Badminton uses a “rally points scoring system.” If the serving side wins a rally, that side scores a point and serves again. If the receiving side wins a rally, that side scores a point and becomes the new serving side.

The competition will be played in two stages for all events: group play and a knockout stage.

Expected Duration (based on Rio)

  • A blowout match can be over in as quickly as 20 minutes (e.g. during the group play stage in Rio, a match that consisted of two games with the following scores: 21-2, 21-3)
  • A match that goes into three games will be at least an hour long

Singles

Group Play

Depending on the number of entries, players are divided into 12- to 16-lettered groups. Each group includes three or four players who compete in a series of round robin matches.

The top players from the world ranking list will be seeded at the top of each group. Depending on the number of groups, there will be up to 16 players seeded. The remaining players will be drawn by lot, one by one, until all players have been placed into a group.

The top-ranked player from each group will advance to the knockout stage.

Group Rankings

Group standings are determined by number of matches won.

If two players have won the same number of matches, the winner of the match between them will be ranked higher.

If three or more players have won the same number of matches, ranking will be established by the difference of total games (not matches) won and total games lost, with greater difference ranked higher.

If the tie remains, ranking will be established by the difference of total points won and total points lost, with greater difference ranked higher. If the players are still equal, ranking will be established by drawing lots.

Knockout Stage

At the beginning of the knockout stage, competitors are drawn into a single-elimination bracket, which is organized based on the original seeds of each group. (As a result, if the top two players in the world both make it out of group play, they will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket.) Athletes compete head-to-head and the winner of each match advances to the next round.

The only time a losing player will contest another match is when the losing semi-finalists meet in the bronze medal match.

The rounds will take place in the following order:

  • Round of 16
  • Quarterfinals
  • Semifinals
  • Medal matches (gold and bronze)

Doubles

Group Play

Pairs are divided by draw into four groups of four pairs. Each pair faces every other pair in the group in a series of round robin matches.

The top four pairs from the world ranking list will be seeded at the top of each group. The remaining pairs will be distributed into the groups by random draw.

Group Rankings

Group standings are determined by number of matches won.

The two top-ranked pairs in each group will advance to the knockout stage.

If two pairs have won the same number of matches, the winner of the match between them will be ranked higher.

If three or more pairs have won the same number of matches, ranking will be established by the difference of total games (not matches) won and total games lost, with greater difference ranked higher.

If the tie remains, ranking will be established by the difference of total points won and total points lost, with greater difference ranked higher. If the players are still equal, ranking will be established by drawing lots.

Knockout Stage

At the beginning of the knockout stage, pairs are drawn into a single-elimination bracket, which is organized based on the original seeds of each group. (As a result, if the top two pairs in the world both make it out of group play as the top-ranked team, they will be placed on opposite sides of the bracket.)

Pairs compete in head-to-head and the winner of each match advances to the next round. The only time a losing pair will contest another match is when the losing semi-finalists meet in the bronze medal match.

The rounds will take place in the following order:

  • Quarterfinals
  • Semifinals
  • Medal matches (gold and bronze)

More information:

Official Tokyo site – Badminton

Team USA – Badminton

Badminton World Federation