After lifting Odisha Open title, Kochi lad Kiran aims big

Kiran George
Kiran George hopes to improve his ranking this year. Image: Badminton Photo

Badminton runs in Kiran George's family. His dad George Thomas was a former national champion, while his mother Preetha and his elder brother Arun too have been national-level players. Kiran made his family proud as he won his first BWF Super 100 title at the Odisha Open in Cuttack on Sunday.

Kiran bounced back after crashing out in the first round of the recent India Open and Syed Modi International events. The Kochi lad pulled off an upset win over the higher-ranked Subhankar Dey en route to his triumph in the Odisha capital. "It was a highly satisfying outing. The good thing was that I had to go through tough matches from the first round itself. The win over Subhankar was a confidence-booster and I hope this triumph will spur me on to bigger wins," Kiran told Onmanorama over the phone.

Kiran was quick to point out the role his dad has played in his career. "From a very young age, I have looked up to my father. He always discusses the game with me and gives me valuable tips," said Kiran.

Kiran, who is right-handed unlike his dad, has been training at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru under U Vimal Kumar since 2015. He spoke about the training regimen of the new coach Yoo Yong-Sung, a two-time Olympic silver medallist from South Korea. "He focuses on off-court training a lot. The off-court training starts at 6 in the morning and goes on till 7.30. From 9-12 it's on-court practice and from 3-6 it's a combination of both gym and game sessions."

Kiran, who completed his B Com from Sacred Heart College, Thevara, is clear that his future lies in badminton and hopes to improve his ranking this year. "The next immediate assignment for me is the Asian Tour Championship in Malaysia. I'm currently ranked No. 80. The target is to improve the ranking and thus get to play in the major events. As for the studies, I aim to join an MBA course once I clear the remaining papers," added Kiran who will turn 22 on February 11.

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