Riding on a wave of confidence, Kiran George is eager to stamp his authority in the Thomas and Uber Cup which gets underway in Aarhus, Denmark on Saturday.
It will be Kiran George’s maiden appearance in the biennial team championship and perhaps the biggest tournament of his career so far.
After earning his place in the national senior side with a top finish in the selection trials held in Hyderabad early last month, 21-year-old Kiran is oozing with confidence.
Kerala youngster Kiran warmed up for the Thomas Cup in the right way by clinching the men’s singles title in the Polish International Series which concluded in Zakopane last Sunday.
Fifth seed Kiran stopped the dream run of Singaporean qualifier Jia Heng Jason Teh with a hard-fought 13-21, 21-14, 21-13 win in the summit clash.
The triumph in Poland helped Kiran jump to his career best world ranking of 92. The talented youngster was ranked 101 before the Polish tournament.
In 2016, Kiran, who is supported by the Olympic Gold Quest, won the silver medal at the Under-17 Asian Badminton Championships in Indonesia.
In the selection trials, Kiran shocked higher-ranked and more experienced players like Sameer Verma, HS Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram to finish on top.
Kiran, who has been training at the Bengaluru-based Prakash Padukone Academy, also stunned world No. 23 Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands at the Orleans Masters in France in March.
Kiran, who hails from Kochi, comes from a family of shuttlers. Kiran’s father George Thomas was a former national champion and his mother Preetha and elder brother Arun were national-level players.
Kiran took some time from his busy schedule to speak exclusively with Sportskeeda from Denmark.
Here are excerpts from an interview with Kiran George
Q: Selection in the Indian team for the prestigious Thomas and Uber Cup is the most important moment of your career so far?
A: Yes I think this is one of the most important things that has happened in my career so far. Being able to represent India for the Thomas Cup is huge for me.
Q: Did you expect to get a berth in the Indian team when the BAI announced the selection trials in Hyderabad last month?
A: Yes I expected that I would do well in the trials as I was playing well in practice and I had done well in the Orleans Masters beating some good players. The performance in the Orleans Masters had given me some confidence.
Q: After topping the selection trials in Hyderabad, you must be looking forward to continuing your performance in the Thomas Cup?
A: Yeah I’m really excited to play in the Thomas Cup for the first time and I hope to do well for my team.
Q: Do you think winning the title in the Polish International Series Badminton tournament was the ideal preparation for the Thomas Cup?
A: Winning the Polish Open on September 26 was good for me and it gave me confidence going into the Thomas Cup.
Q: Whom do you like to give credit for your success so far?
A: I would like to thank my parents, Vimal Kumar Sir, Prakash Padukone Sir and Sagar Chopda Bhaiya for pushing me to be better every day.
Q: What are your short term goals and long term goals?
A: My short term goal as of now is to reach the top 50 by the end of this year. And my long term goal is obviously to win a medal for India at the Olympics.