Kiran George: Five things to know about Indian shuttler

Abhiruchi RoutAbhiruchi Rout

June 2 2023
Kiran George

The youngster will reach the BWF top 50 singles rankings after a quarter-finals finish at Thailand Open.

Badminton in India has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the past few decades. This growth has resulted in the success of Indian players on the international platform, including prestigious events such as the Olympics, Badminton World Championships, All England Open, Commonwealth Games, and many more tournaments organized by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). 

Athletes like Prakash Padukone, Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal, and PV Sindhu have left indelible marks on the sport and have inspired a new generation of Indian players. As a result, Badminton is one of the most followed and played sports in India, not just for its competitive appeal, but also due to its accessibility and suitability for all age groups. 

Recently, Indian shuttler Kiran George stunned two Chinese higher-ranked opponents in two consecutive days at the Thailand Open 2023, the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament. Since these two victories, Kiran has become the talk of the town among Badminton fans.

5) A Member of India’s Thomas Cup 2020 squad

Securing the top spot in the selection trials held in Hyderabad, Kiran George proved his worth for inclusion in the national senior team. During these trials, he pulled off upset victories over highly ranked and seasoned players such as Sameer Verma, HS Prannoy, and Ajay Jayaram. He further showcased his prowess by winning the Polish International Series against Jason Teh of Singapore ahead of the Thomas Cup 2020. 

In the prestigious Thomas Cup, he had the chance to compete in two matches for India, winning one against Elias Maublanc of the Netherlands, while losing to China’s Li Shifeng, who holds the current World No. 11 position. India eventually ended their campaign at the Thomas Cup 2020, after facing a defeat against Denmark by 1-3 in the quarter-finals.

4) Silver at the Badminton Asia Youth Championships in 2016

At just the age of 16, Kiran George brought laurels to India by securing a silver medal in the Under-17 Boys Singles division at the Badminton Asia Youth Championships held in Kudus, Indonesia. Although he put up a valiant fight in the finals, he fell to Thailand’s top-seeded player and present World no. 5, Kunlavut Vitidasrn, with scores of 21-17, 15-21, 12-21.

On his journey to the finals, the promising teenager from Kerala, who entered unseeded, overcame Japan’s Takuma Kawamoto with scores of 21-13, 21-15 in the pre-quarterfinals. He then defeated Malaysia’s 6th seeded Wei Jie Chia 21-14, 21-17 in the quarterfinals, and after an intense battle, surpassed Indonesia’s Alberto Alvin Yulianto 21-16, 19-21, 24-22 in the semifinals.

3) First Super 100 title at the Odisha Open 2022

In an intense match that lasted for 58 minutes in the men’s category, Kiran prevailed over compatriot, Priyanshu Rajawat, with a score of 21-15, 14-21, 21-18, and earned him the Odisha Open 2022 (Super 100) title. The match demanded a high level of physical stamina and mental strength from Kiran, as the outcome was unpredictable until the final moments. 

Kiran made a strong start, taking a 9-5 lead in the first game, but Rajawat managed to tie the game at 12-12. However, Rajawat couldn’t keep up the momentum and allowed Kiran to take nine of the following twelve points and secure the game. Although the second game went in favor of Rajawat, Kiran eventually won the competition which was a nail-biter.

2) Belongs to a family of Shuttlers

Kiran hails from a family deeply rooted in the sport of Badminton, residing in Kochi. His father, George Thomas, is a previous national champion in the sport. His mother, Preetha, demonstrated her talent at the state level. Kiran’s brother, Arun George, has made a name for himself on the national stage. He represented the Bengaluru Raptors in the Premier Badminton League.

1) Biggest win against Shi Yuqi

At the Thailand Open Super 500 event, Kiran George caused a major upset as he got past World No. 9 Shi Yuqi in straight games by 21-18, 22-20 to enter the pre-quarterfinal. This was a huge win for Kiran, considering Yuqi is the 2018 World Championship silver medalist and All England Open 2018 champion, defeating one of the greats, Lin Dan. 

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The very next day, the 23-year-old Indian shuttler defeated Weng Hong Yang, the World no. 26 and finalist of last week’s Malaysia Masters, once again in straight games by 21-11, 21-19 to secure a place in the quarters of the tournament.  The Indian ultimately lost to Toma Popov junior in the quarter-finals.

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